Plaintiff-Appellees were former criminal defendants in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court (OPCDC) who pleaded guilty to various criminal defenses and were assessed fines and fees. All were arrested for failure to pay their assessed fines and fees; bond was set at $20,000 each; and, they each spent between six days and two weeks in jail. The court’s collection of fines and fees funded about one quarter of the Judicial Expense Fund (JEF); the Judges had exclusive control over how the JEF was spent and generally used it for court staff salaries as well as other administrative and maintenance expenses.
The Vera Institute’s “Paid in Full” report outlines a path towards fines and fees reform, summarizing relevant reform litigation and detailing specific steps that the city of New Orleans can take to reduce the harms of pre-trial and conviction fees.
In the summer of 2018, New Orleans became the first city in the South to abolish fees charged to youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
Louisiana House Bill 249 protects people convicted of a felony and their dependents from facing undue hardship because of fines and fees.
In March 2017, New Orleans nonprofit Stand with Dignity sponsored a Warrant Clinic in New Orleans. Over 1,200 people (who owed an average of $8,000 in fines and fees) participated in the clinic.
Mayes’ traffic debt started back in 1989 when he got his first traffic ticket and couldn’t afford to pay it. He missed one court date after another and also racked up more traffic citations until his total traffic ticket debt was nearly $23,000.
This report documents the amount New Orleans residents pay in bail, fines and fees, traces where the money goes, and calculates how much the city spends to jail people who cannot pay.
Fifteen percent of the Bogalusa City Court’s revenue is derived from court fines and fees. Judge Black gives indigent defendants the options of jail for nonpayment of fines and fees or the payment of an illegal $50 extension fee to buy additional time to pay their court debt.
Rozzie Scott, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana was found guilty of stealing $5 worth of food to feed his family. Judge Black ordered him to pay $450 in court fines and fees.
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 …