A study of three Georgia cities which earn over 10 percent of their revenue from municipal citations and traffic tickets found high levels of distrust of authority among residents. The lesson, according to researchers: what a city gains in monetary value is lost in community capital.
Since January 1, 2018, a state law prohibits the collection of legal fees from families affected by the juvenile legal system. But some local officials haven’t got the message, according to a study by the Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic.
“When you take away a person’s license, you kind of take away their ability to provide for their family,” says Matt Holland, one of the staggering number of Americans who are penalized because they can’t afford to pay their court costs.
The California court system has relied on a complicated scheme of fines, fees, assessments and penalties levied on defendants as a source of funding. A bill in the legislature would eliminate the payments.
Before leaving office, former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a sweeping act restructuring court fines and fees across the state. But critics, including the legislator who sponsored the bill, say it still falls short of lawmakers’ intentions to create a fairer system.
The bail bond industry is under attack from all sides of the political spectrum. A lawsuit filed in St. Louis by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation says the industry violates constitutional protections.
At a John Jay conference last week, retired California Superior Court judge Lisa Foster led a chorus of criticism from researchers and advocates seeking to change a “culture” that emerged in the 1980s to use punitive fines and fees to generate revenue.
Resistance from local governments and their employees—along with the growing involvement of for-profit corporations in prison administration—are key barriers to ending the system of justice-related fines and fees that have “disproportionately” burdened minorities and poor people, a conference at John Jay College heard Thursday.