This report examines the current status of mandatory surcharges in New York, describes the impact of the surcharges on indigent defendants, and proposes legislative changes, including the elimination of the surcharges.
This policy brief explains some of the justifications for Florida’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses and explores the consequences of that practice—driver’s license suspension disproportionately burdens low-income individuals and has …
This report examines in detail the collateral consequences of Alabama’s court debt system and explores the ways in which it undermines public safety and drives the state’s racial wealth divide.
This report was published by the Kansas Supreme Court following a rigorous assessment of Kansas municipal court practices. It advances 18 recommendations for judges and courts to more fairly and constitutionally impose and enforce fines and fees and outlines an implementation plan for reform.
The authors’ completed model predicts that when a local government is experiencing a fiscal crisis, local police departments will increase arrests for “offenses that carry fines or the opportunity to forfeit assets.”
This report documents that the families of children charged with crimes are forced to pay for the cost of legal counsel in all but 10 U.S. states – despite the Constitution’s guarantee that young people who are indigent are entitled to court-appointed counsel.
This report is a result of a comprehensive review of New Jersey municipal courts by the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court Operations, Fines, and Fees.
The author argues for an exception to the Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) abstention doctrine (Younger abstention) in cases challenging the criminalization of poverty.
This study assesses the use of fines and fees for misdemeanor crimes in Nevada and Iowa to highlight the perverse incentives embedded in the practice of using courts as revenue centers. The article proposes the concept of “monetary myopia,” or a short-sighted focus on revenue at the expense of other concerns, to explain the states’ behavior.
In 2017, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Financial Justice Project, and Mayor’s Office of Budget and Public Policy studied the collateral consequences of criminal justice administrative fees on San Franciscans. Their findings were published in this report, which also coincides with 2018 San Francisco County legislation that abolished all discretionary fees imposed by the county.