This new court rule approves the use of two bench cards to help judges determine defendants' ability to pay at sentencing and in collections.
Following litigation by the ACLU, the MacArthur Justice Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center challenging debtor’s prisons in Biloxi, Jackson, and Corinth, the Mississippi Supreme Court made two changes related to fines and fees in its Rules of Criminal Procedure.
This bill aims to improve the fairness of the Texas criminal justice system’s response to defendants’ inability to pay fines and fees in criminal cases, particularly in traffic and city ordinance violations.
This case alleges that Lexington County operates a modern-day debtors’ prison pursuant to a Default Payment Policy and a Trial in Abstentia Policy.
Individuals must pay their unrelated LaGrange Municipal court fines and fees before gaining access to basic utility services. Further, the City charges $50 for a public defender. Unable to pay for a public defender, most people plead guilty or nolo contendere.
Plaintiffs allege that the Michigan Department of State’s automatic suspension of driver’s license of persons who owe court fines and fees, regardless of their ability to pay violates due process and equal protection.
This report is based on the authors’ research on traffic courts and driver’s license suspension practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. It details how much revenue courts collect from fines and fees, the harmful impacts those fees have on low-income Californians, and also advances several policy reform recommendations.
In late 2016, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors directed the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to create a Fines and Fees Task Force (staffed by the Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project) to study the impact of fines and fees on San Franciscans & propose relevant reforms. About six months later, the Task Force published this initial report in order to provide an overview of fines and fees in San Francisco as well as an array of reform recommendations.
The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder is an online tool that allows users to quickly explore and assess fines and fees reform statutes in all 50 states.
This bill makes several changes to the way Arizona courts impose and enforce fines and fees. In particular, it increases judges’ power to reduce fines and fees if a defendant is unable to pay and slightly reduces certain state surcharges.