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Commonwealth v. Smetana

Appellant was held in contempt and incarcerated for failure to pay his court fines and fees without any inquiry into his ability to pay. The appellant mentioned that his sibling may be able to pay, but no further inquiry was made by the court. He was sentenced to thirty days imprisonment with credit for time served and a $200 fee to purge the contempt.

DiFrancesco v. Fox

Plaintiffs allege that defendant’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses indefinitely until all court fines and fees are paid regardless of ability to pay violates equal protection and due process.

Justice Network v. Craighead County

The plaintiff alleged that the two defendant-judges instituted an “Amnesty Program” that forgave fees owed by probation clients to the plaintiff, which interfered with the contractual relationship that existed between the plaintiff and its probation clients. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant judges used their judicial office and powers to unlawfully take plaintiff’s substantial property rights without due process of law.

Thomas v. Haslam

In misdemeanor and felony cases, Tennessee automatically revoked a person’s driver’s license if they failed to pay court fines and fees one year after they were imposed.

Traffic and Criminal Procedure: Infraction Procedures Regarding Bail, Fines, Fees, and Assessments; Mandatory Courtesy Notices; and Ability-to-Pay Determinations

In response to the Judicial Council of California’s directives, the Traffic and Criminal Law Advisory Committees authored this report which includes a proposal for three new rules, a rule amendment, and related commentary from stakeholders regarding their proposal. The recommended rules concern procedures for bail, fines, fees, and assessments imposed for infraction offenses; mandatory courtesy notices; and ability to pay determinations.
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