Mr. Salinas was sentenced to five years in prison with court costs for injury to an elderly individual. He challenged the constitutionality of two of the fees imposed by the court: the abuse of children counseling fee and the comprehensive rehabilitation fee.
Mr. Blazina was sentenced to 20 months in prison for second degree assault. Attached to his sentence was over $3000 in fees and tens of thousands of dollars in restitution. The Washington Supreme Court held that individualized inquiries of the defendant’s current and future ability to pay must be made before imposing Legal Financial Obligations.
Included in the appellant’s sentence was “court costs” of $234. The appellant appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the amount of the costs.
Two appellants convicted of misdemeanors offered participation in the pretrial diversion program upon payment of $230 in fees. They filed a complaint alleging removal from the program because of their inability to pay the fees is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Harrison County Jail was a modern day debtors’ prison. Officers went to predominantly African American neighborhoods arbitrarily checking people to see if they had paid their court fines and fees.
An indigent's equal protection rights are violated when defendants can avoid prosecution by paying a fine, without determining an individual’s ability to pay the fine.
In Bearden v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that courts may only revoke probation and/or sentence the defendant to imprisonment if the defendant willfully refused to pay.