Courts, Needing Funds, Step Up Fine Collections


As Florida's budget has tightened with the economic crisis, efforts to step up collecting unpaid court fees and fines have intensified; court clerks say the pressure is on them to bring in every dollar, reports the New York Times. Several other states, including Georgia and Michigan, have also cracked down on people who owe fines.

With 44 states facing budget deficits totaling $90 billion this year, 25 state court systems already have budget shortfalls, said Dan Hall of the National Center for State Courts. Oregon will try to save $3.1 million by closing courthouses on Fridays for four months and cutting the pay of 1,800 court workers by 20 percent. New Hampshire began suspending civil and criminal jury trials in eight counties for a month, starting last December, and postponed filling seven of the state's 59 vacant judgeships.

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