CO Pair Cleared in Sex Crimes Can Get Court Fees Back

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A man and a woman in Colorado who were cleared of charges in different sex crimes are entitled to a refund of thousands of dollars in court fees and costs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today. The high court ruled in favor of Shannon Nelson and Louis Madden. Nelson’s convictions of sexual assault against children were reversed, but she was ordered to pay $8,193, mostly in victim restitution. Madden’s sex-crime convictions were also reversed, and he was told to pay $4,413, including a fee for genetic testing of sex offenders.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that “due process does not require a refund of costs, fees, and restitution when a defendant’s conviction is reversed,” but the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.  Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that Colorado requires defendants whose convictions were reversed to file a civil suit to recover their money. That violates the Constitution’s guarantee of due process of law, she said. Justice Samuel Alito concurred in the result, and Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

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