How Prosecutors Score a Windfall Turning Small Tickets into Big Fees

Since 2010, dozens of cities in California have hired a private law firm to prosecute people on the city’s behalf for municipal code violation and in civil forfeiture cases. Defendants are billed for these prosecution services, which is a part of what the Institute for Justice calls “policing for profit.” Through interviews with directly impacted people, the video describes how this practice negatively impacts defendants and highlights the conflicts of interest that arise when governments contract with private attorneys who are motivated by financial gain.

Investigative reporting by the Desert Sun and litigation initiated by the Institute for Justice contributed to the successful campaign to end prosecution fees in California.

Institute for Justice