The Cheap Geek took advantage of the Cash 4 Clunkers deal this week and traded in my 17 mpg Chrysler MiniVan for a 50 mpg Prius.

The minivan was probably worth $2000.00 tops – as it really got about 14 mpg and had 176K miles on it. So in the end, I got a deal, the car dealership got a sale, and my van got removed from the road and will get to retire to the farm along side my childhood pet dog, Lucky. According to the papers this morning, the program is so popular that it is quickly running out of money, and Congress is rushing to put more money into the program to keep it going.

Now my thoughts start to wander and I begin thinking how can this idea be transferred to helping the court system reduce the number of cases it handles, thus reducing the overall strain on the system? I’m going to toss out a couple of suggestions, but I really would like everyone to put on their “thinking caps”, or as I like to call it “crazy idea initiators”, and help me come up with some other ideas that might help reduce the number of cases currently clogging up the courts.
Here’s my thoughts:
  1. Civil Cases: If the case is older than 1 year and is still ongoing, offer the Plaintiffs a cash payment of $4500 or 50% of the demanded amount (whichever is less) to drop the case. Make the Defendant pay $2750 or 25% of demanded amount (whichever is less). That way, everyone “gets a haircut” and the courts reduce their overall burden.
  2. Criminal Cases: Same idea — misdemeanor cases that are older than 1 year and the penalty can be handled by a “fine” – Have the defendant plead “guilty” or “no contest” with agreement by the court to expunge the record after one year if the defendant is not arrested again. Have the defendant pay 25% of the fine. On this one, there shouldn’t be a need for the government to ante up any money as it would “pay” the court to get this case off of its docket.
I know… I know… you’re thinking that I’ve hit Happy Hour a little early for a Friday morning. But, why not have some fun with this??
What are your suggestions (crazy or not) on how the Cash 4 Clunkers concept could be used to reduce the caseload on our courts??