In this report, the Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School proposes a framework where courts would impose means-adjusted fines as a proportionate sentence for an offense. The authors assert that by adopting the proposed recommendations, courts can ease or prevent the worst harms that excessive financial sanctions create for poor people without waiting for legislative reforms.
This legislation makes several changes to Texas courts’ imposition and collection of fines and fees, with a particular emphasis on defendants’ ability to pay and alternatives to fines and fees for indigent defendants.
The bill provides that driver’s licenses may not be suspended for failure to pay fines and fees unless the person has the ability to pay but refuses to do so. It also provides that courts must provide alternatives to immediate payment of fines and fees for people who are indigent, such as payment plans and community service.
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 American Bar Association developed ten guidelines to ensure that fines and fees do not punish people disproportionately for their poverty.
Starting in 2018, Texas’ Office of Court Administration (OCA) made changes to the rule that requires Texas counties and cities with a population of 100,000 or more to implement a Collection Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP webpage also includes a variety of sample language for court and program staff to use, including “Sample Payment Plan Application” and “Sample First Written Notice.”
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.
This bench card provides guidance to North Carolina judges regarding the imposition and collection of fines and fees in criminal cases. In particular, the bench card outlines the law as applicable to court costs, attorney fees, other fees, fines, and restitution, and highlights when each obligation applies as well as when and how courts can provide relief.
Massachusetts Senate Bill 2371, which passed in 2018, protects people from being incarcerated for their inability to pay or for nonpayment of fines and fees, prohibits indigent defendants from being charged for counsel, and allows for court-ordered monetary sanctions to be adjusted or waived.
This ordinance abolishes all discretionary fees imposed by San Francisco County.