A judge in Alabama is facing backlash for telling offenders who owed the court money they could donate blood if they didn’t have the funds—or face jail time.
According to a report by the New York Times, Judge Marvin Wiggins told offenders, “if you don’t have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating you gave blood.” The offenders were to be given a $100 voucher that would go toward their fines and fees for misdemeanor and traffic crimes. Many were uncomfortable with the request, with some offenders telling the Times they felt like they had no choice in the matter. Some lawyers have questioned the constitutionality of it all.
On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center reportedly filed an ethics complaint against the judge, who they say violated offenders “bodily integrity.” The judge would not comment to the Times, but the blood collection group—who recently paid a $4 million settlement due an HIV tainted blood transfusion—said it quarantined and tested all of the blood and later threw a great deal of it away.