This review of law and policy is the first-year report of a five-year study comprising quantitative and qualitative research that provides a detailed understanding of how fines and fees are imposed and enforced across the United States.
This bill makes dozens of changes to Kentucky’s criminal justice statutes, and several of those changes constitute meaningful fines and fees reform.
This court rule establishes new procedures for Massachusetts courts to determine defendants’ ability to pay and for courts to assess fees for public counsel based on that determination.
In Indiana, federal and state constitutions entitle all adults or children found to be indigent and facing the possibility of incarceration on misdemeanors or felonies, the right to public counsel. …
ArchCity Defenders organized a court watching program at the Davidson County General Sessions Criminal Court in Nashville on Monday, September 12, 2016. The goal of the program was to learn more about the administration of right to counsel in misdemeanor courts in Nashville, and to learn if defendants were being incarcerated for inability to pay fines and fees.
This bench card was created as part of a 2016 settlement agreement in Kennedy v. Biloxi, an ACLU lawsuit against the city of Biloxi, Mississippi, where defendants could avoid incarceration only if they paid their fines and fees immediately, in full, with cash.
This Guide for Policy Reform by Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program is organized into four issue areas: conflicts of interest, poverty penalties and poverty traps (when people are forced to pay more or face harsher sanctions because of their poverty), the ability-to-pay determination, and transparency and accountability. Under each of these sections, a description of the problem is followed by legislative, judicial, and executive reform suggestions for people at the state level to use and incorporate into their efforts.
The Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles referred people who owed court fines and fees for traffic tickets to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) without any inquiry into the individual’s ability to pay. A referral to the DMV resulted in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
This case challenged the City of El Paso’s payment policy for Class C misdemeanors – usually parking tickets.
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office for Access to Justice sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to State Court Administrators and Chief Justices in each state clarifying the legal framework that governs the enforcement of fines and fees, including the importance of procedural protections and, in appropriate cases, the right to counsel.