Judges in Oklahoma are being urged to raise fines and collect court costs to help overcome budget problems, reports the Oklahoman. “I cannot tell you how important this is,” Supreme Court Chief Justice James E. Edmondson told the state’s judges. The judges have been told they should require those getting probation to pay more upfront. A handbook encourages “defendants to pay their fines, fees and costs by credit card.”
The state judiciary depends mostly on fines and court costs for its operations, but it also gets state funds. The Legislature appropriated 7 percent less this fiscal year for court operations. Further cuts are expected. The Supreme Court responded by sponsoring workshops for judges to improve court cost collections. The workshops begin with a recorded statement from the chief justice.