CART Transcript of the Webinar available here.
Over the past two decades, the use of fines, fees, surcharges and other monetary costs in the criminal justice system has expanded rapidly, particularly for misdemeanors and minor infractions. In many jurisdictions, these fees, court costs and surcharges accruing for even a minor infraction can run to hundreds of dollars. These fees are rarely tailored to an individual’s financial circumstances, yet, in many jurisdictions, failure to pay can result in an arrest warrant, jail time, the suspension of a driver’s license and/or the deprivation of fundamental rights, including the right to vote. In the wake of increased awareness of these fees and their impact on vulnerable populations, many are calling for reform.
This program examined the issue of fees and their impact on defendants, as well as the legislative reforms proposed or instituted in several jurisdictions. This program also examined the future of court fee reform in light of the pandemic and its impact on courts and budgets.
- Introduction: ABA President Patricia Lee Refo
- Hon. Melvin Carter, Mayor, St. Paul, MN
- Sen. William C. Smith, Maryland’s 20th District
- Saurabh Sanghvi, Counsel to Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
- Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County, 2nd District
- Brett Richards, Counsel to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker
- Moderator: Lisa Foster, Co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center
- 10 Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees (2018)
- Formal Opinion 490: Ethical Obligations of Judges in Collecting Legal Financial Obligations and Other Debts (Mar. 24, 2020)
- Report: Privatization of Services in the Criminal Justice System (2020)
- Maryland HB36 (2020) – As Adopted
- Md. Bills would eliminate burdensome juvenile justice fines and fees (Feb 20, 2019)
- St. Paul cuts fines and fees in response to COVID-19
- Mayor Carter orders fine and fee relief for St. Paul residents, businesses (Apr 28, 2020)
- California AB 1869 (2020) – As Adopted
- Motion to Eliminate Los Angeles County Criminal System Administrative Fees (2020) – As Adopted
- LA County Board votes to eliminate many criminal justice fees, forgive debt (Feb 19, 2020
- Los Angeles County eliminates criminal fees. Will California follow? (Feb 19, 2020)
- Report: Costs of Injustice: How Criminal System Fees Are Hurting Los Angeles County Families (Nov 2019)