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Ohio Village Has Drunks Pouring Fines Into Charity

December 29, 1985|Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Convicted drunks in Briarwood Beach now pay their fines to the Salvation Army instead of the municipal treasury, thanks to an act of charity by the mayor of the north Ohio village.

The unusual approach to justice in mayor's court began Dec. 14 and has netted about $320 so far for the Salvation Army, Mayor Leonard M. English said.

The money comes from defendants who plead guilty or no contest to alcohol-related offenses. The mayor's court technically suspends any fine and sends out the contribution.

"Our clerk-treasurer, Lynda Reuter, said she was shocked and said: 'You can't do this,' " English recalled. "I said: 'I just did it.' "

English said he was operating properly under the municipality's drunk-driving law and not dealing with state law.

He said he got the idea for the program after reading reports that the Salvation Army was having trouble raising money to take care of the needy. He said he believed that the Salvation Army deserved money from alcohol-related fines in light of its work with alcoholics.

"It's an attempt to assist the private sector in doing the work that the public sector cannot do," English said.

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