A Michigan prosecutor has come up with a new idea to stave off budget cuts: ask judges to award prosecution fees from defendants. The Detroit Free Press says that judges in Oakland County, Mi., “are doing the right thing in refusing to go along with silly, unfair and counterproductive requests” by prosecutor Jessica Cooper for such payments.
Cooper is relying on a seldom-used Michigan statute that leaves fees, limited to expenses specifically incurred in prosecuting a defendant, up to a judge’s discretion. Cooper, citing the economic slump, wants the county to be paid the equivalent of what court-appointed defense attorneys make — about $400 a case. Collecting such fees is unreasonable for a job prosecutors already get paid to do, the newspaper says. In one case, a prosecutor acknowledged spending only a half-hour on a case for which he then sought $400 in fees.