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Commonwealth v. Smetana

Appellant was held in contempt and incarcerated for failure to pay his court fines and fees without any inquiry into his ability to pay. The appellant mentioned that his sibling may be able to pay, but no further inquiry was made by the court. He was sentenced to thirty days imprisonment with credit for time served and a $200 fee to purge the contempt.

DiFrancesco v. Fox

Plaintiffs allege that defendant’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses indefinitely until all court fines and fees are paid regardless of ability to pay violates equal protection and due process.

Justice Network v. Craighead County

The plaintiff alleged that the two defendant-judges instituted an “Amnesty Program” that forgave fees owed by probation clients to the plaintiff, which interfered with the contractual relationship that existed between the plaintiff and its probation clients. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant judges used their judicial office and powers to unlawfully take plaintiff’s substantial property rights without due process of law.

Thomas v. Haslam

In misdemeanor and felony cases, Tennessee automatically revoked a person’s driver’s license if they failed to pay court fines and fees one year after they were imposed.

Dade v. City of Sherwood

Plaintiffs alleged that the Sherwood’s “hot check” court routinely jailed indigent persons unable to pay court fines and fees without inquiry into their ability to pay.

Rivera v. Orange County Probation

Orange County Probation Department sent a bill of $16,372 to a juvenile’s mother for reimbursement of reasonable costs of support while her son was in detention. The County sought $23.90 for each day of detention and $2199 in legal expenses. Doing her best to pay the debt, Rivera sold her house and paid $9508. Unable to pay the rest, she was served, and a default judgment of $9905 was issued against her for failure to appear. Ms. Rivera eventually filed for bankruptcy.
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