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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Ind. Courts - "State audit questions Clark court's fees"

Ben Zion Hershberg reports today in the Louisville Courier Journal in a lengthy story:

The Indiana State Board of Accounts has questioned more than $2.5 million collected from motorists on traffic tickets issued in Clark County over 5 1/2 years, saying alcohol and drug fees ranging from $18 to $50 per ticket shouldn’t have been charged for traffic offenses that didn’t include alcohol or drugs.

“These offenses were not substance use-involved offenses and the traffic offenders did not receive alcohol and drug program services,” says the board of accounts audit for Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2010, which was issued last month.

State law doesn’t allow such charges, the audit says.

Joseph Weber, Judge of Clark County Circuit Court 3, which was named Superior Court 3 until this year, said he has discontinued collecting alcohol and drug fees on traffic tickets that don’t involve such issues because of the audit questions.

Stephen Fleece, who was judge of Superior Court 3 for more than 20 years, said he believes the board of accounts is wrong about the alcohol and drug fee. He said the court provided a service to traffic violators by giving them a pamphlet that included information about the dangers of driving when using alcohol or drugs and the availability of an alcohol and drug assessment free of charge.

It is the provision of such information, Fleece said, “which the judges consider a service.” * * *

As in the previous audit, the board of accounts again questions $1,007,098 in contributions made by Fleece in 2008 to organizations including $4,500 to a sports league in Borden; $132,742 for automobiles, carpeting and other court purchases; a lawnmower and trailer for the sheriff’’s department; and radar guns, motorcycle trailers and other items for the Indiana State Police.

Here is the 12-page SBA Audit Report of the Clerk of the Clark County Court, for calendar year 2010, filed 3/23/12.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 4, 2012 09:00 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts