Alabama Judge Says Residents Can Forgo Jail Time By Donating Blood

As John Oliver taught us, court fees in America are just ridiculous.

All over the country, people are put in jail for minor offenses because they simply cannot afford to pay small fines.

A better solution is certainly in order to reprimand citizens with small violations. But, surely, there is a better solution than the one offered by Alabama Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins.

In a newly-released recording by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Wiggins is heard telling a courtroom full of people, if they can't afford their court fines, they can either go to jail, or they can donate blood.

On the tape, Wiggins says,

There's a blood drive outside, and if you don't have any money and don't want to go to jail, as an option to pay it, you can give blood today. If you do not have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating that you did give blood. Consider that a discount, rather than putting you in jail, if you do not have any money.

This is, of course, all sorts of illegal as it equates to sentencing someone to a medical procedure.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, the blood bank on hand that day, has since renounced the blood it collected, making it a moral double whammy: Do you take the blood that was procured through extortion and give it to hospitals that desperately need it, or do you throw it away because of the way it was obtained?

This, however, is not the first time this blood bank, nor this judge, have found themselves in hot water.

In August, LifeSouth lost a multi-million-dollar suit for allegedly distributing HIV-positive blood.

According to, in 2009, Judge Wiggins was ordered to work without pay for 90 days by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for not recusing himself in a voter fraud investigation involving his own relatives.

Citations: Alabama Judge Accused Of Telling Offenders To Give Blood Or Go To Jail (NPR)