Seattle Municipal Court judges voted unanimously to eliminate all discretionary fines and fees imposed in criminal cases. Judges recognize the financial harms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the weight of these additional fees for people with low incomes and people of color, as important factors in this decision. Fees eliminated by the rule change include probation supervision fee, records check fee, work crew fee, and community service setup fee, totaling an average of $268,000 annually to the City’s General Fund. Before the rule change, judges waived fees in the majority of cases where individuals did not have the ability to pay them.
Earlier this year, the Seattle Municipal Court was selected to engage in local criminal justice fine and fee reform through the Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice.
You can read about the rule change here.