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Monday, May 19, 2014

Courts - "As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price"

Joseph Shapiro has a long (over 12 minutes) NPR All Things Considered story tonight, accompanied by a chart of which states are charging defendants and offenders fees.

A yearlong NPR investigation also included a nationwide survey — with help from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice and the National Center for State Courts... Findings of this investigation include:
  • Defendants are charged for a long list of government services that were once free — including ones that are constitutionally required.
  • Impoverished people sometimes go to jail when they fall behind paying these fees.
  • Since 2010, 48 states have increased criminal and civil court fees.
  • Many courts are struggling to interpret a 1983 Supreme Court ruling protecting defendants from going to jail because they are too poor to pay their fines.
  • Technology, such as electronic monitors, aimed at helping defendants avoid jail time is available only to those who can afford to pay for it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 19, 2014 08:07 PM
Posted to Courts in general