White House Forum on Access to Justice Panel: Fines & Fees – At the Intersection of Civil and Criminal Justice

In this video recording of a White House Forum on Access to Justice panel, FFJC Co-Director Lisa Foster (then Director of the Office of Access to Justice at the United States Department of Justice) moderates a panel about how fines and fees in the criminal justice system can lead to a myriad of civil woes for low-income Americans. During the panel, Chief Justices from Arizona, Missouri, D.C., Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and South Dakota answered questions about their experiences on the bench related to fines and fees and how their courts are working to combat the disproportionate impacts that court costs perpetuate nationwide.

You can watch the full video via Legal Services Corporation, and it is also embedded below.

  • Chief Justice Breckenridge of Missouri stated that prior to 2014, the state Supreme Court and circuit courts had not really supervised the municipal courts, which the Missouri Constitution grants them the authority to do.
  • One of the principles related to fines and fees that the Conference of Chief Justices developed during 2011 and 2012 said that revenue from fines and fees “should not be earmarked for direct benefit of any judges, court official, or any other criminal justice official.” This is one principle among others that Chief Justice Eric Washington said was being ignored in light of the Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson, MO and other court systems where financial incentives blurred the lines of justice.


Legal Services Corporation