The question before the U.S. Supreme Court was whether the State is required to return court fines and fees paid upon conviction when the conviction is reversed on appeal. Both Petitioners’ convictions were reversed on appeal, and they sought a refund of the fines and fees they paid.
After being convicted of traffic violations, the four complainants were sentenced to pay for and attend English classes and charged high fees for interpreter services in addition to court fines …
The case alleged that Sentinel’s practice of requiring people under its supervision to pay for and undergo drug testing without a court order violated due process and constituted an unconstitutional search.
The complaint alleged, among other things, that the City’s conduct related to the imposition and enforcement of fines and fees for traffic and other municipal code violations was unconstitutional.
Amarillo residents were jailed through the City’s “pay or lay” policy. It stated, “…except as otherwise provided, the Court shall require the defendant to remain in custody… until the fine, State imposed fees and other penalties are paid."
On September 17, 2015, Circuit Judge Wiggins from Perry County Alabama threatened defendants who appeared before him for a previously scheduled “pay-due” docket. He informed them, “If you do not have any money and you do not want to go to jail…you can give blood today…bring in a receipt indicating that you gave blood…”
Hakes could not afford to make any payments. Probation was revoked because he was unable to pay. Hakes filed a complaint stating payment for the bracelet is punitive and does not promote public safety.
Defendant argued that the imposition of court fines and fees is a tax, violated the separation of powers doctrine, and failed to comply with the Distinct Statement Clause.
In Pagedale, MO, the local government was using arrest warrants to collect civil debt from municipal code violations. A suit against the city resulted in a consent decree that reformed the city's ticketing, housing code, and court systems.
On appeal, the Court found, per curiam, a trial court may not revoke a defendant’s probation and send him to prison unless there is a finding that he or she has the ability to pay restitution and is in willful default.