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.
Joan is an Orlando, Florida resident whose license was suspended about six times between 2003 and 2017 for unpaid traffic tickets and court fees. Her most recent suspension from 2019 was due to lack of car insurance. Since many Florida courts do not grant payment plans, Joan has been burdened by late fees while struggling to pay her tickets to avoid having her license suspended.
Plaintiffs argue that by budgeting for revenue from fines and fees, Doraville creates a perverse incentive for the city’s police, prosecutors, and judges.
In this report, the Fund for Modern Courts lays out a comprehensive analysis of fines and fees-related due process violations in New York State town and village justice courts.
Nevada AB 434 makes several changes regarding collection of fines, fees, and restitution. Previously, the law allowed courts to enter a civil judgment; garnish property or wages; suspend driver’s licenses; and incarcerate defendants for nonpayment.
This report identifies several promising issue areas for fines and fees reform in Arkansas, including nonpayment incarceration, driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines and fees, and probation fees. The authors interviewed 205 people who were charged and/or incarcerated over inability to pay fines and fees; performed court-watching in 8 counties; sent almost 300 records requests; and interviewed Arkansas criminal justice and social service stakeholders.
: Kimberly S. is a mother of three who battled to overcome drug addiction. She has been convicted of failure to pay 10 times in the last four years, each time incurring $450 to $670 in additional debt, and sentences of as much as 30 days in jail.
This bill, which did not pass, would have limited the use of arrest for fine-only offenses in Texas.
To be released from jail in Denver, a person must pay the bond and the bond fee. Payment of the bond alone is insufficient to secure the release.
This law review article argues that fines and fees reformers’ emphasis on instituting ability-to-pay determinations without any reductions in racially discriminatory ticketing may cause more harm than good. In particular, the author articulates a concern that ability-to-pay determinations risk legitimizing the existing system of monetary sanctions and entrenching damages inflicted upon people deemed ‘able to pay.’