Tag Archives: court costs

United States of America (plaintiff) vs. $25,180.00 in United States Currency (defendant)

Fact: The above title was an actual court case last year.

Fact: There have been almost 62,000 cash seizures without search warrants or indictments since 2001, totaling $2.5 billion in revenues for federal, state, and local authorities.

Fact: In many cases, the owner is not even charged with a crime.

Fact: Half of all seizures were below $8,800.

Fact: Almost 300 departments and an additional 210 task forces have seized 20% or more of their annual budgets since 2008.

SourceStop and Seize, the Washington Post


Charging Defendants for Court Employees’ Gym Costs

Fact: In some states, defendants are charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for their own arrest warrants, court-ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, to have DNA samples collected, and even for jury trials.

Fact: In Michigan, an impoverished man was charged $1000 in court costs related to forging a prescription to pay for the following:

  • his court-appointed attorney
  • salaries of court employees
  • heat in the court building
  • operating telephones and copy machines
  • underwriting the cost of the court employees’ fitness gym

Fact: In some cases, a defendant can do community service in lieu of fines. However, there is often a per day fee for this.

Fact: A 2004 Department of Justice survey estimates that over 65% of prisoners leave jail financially indebted to the state. A more recent estimate places the figure at 80 to 85%.

SourceGuilty As Charged, NPR

Imprisonment To Pay Fees

Fact: Many services that were once free, including constitutionally protected ones, are increasingly subject to fee schedules. Failure to pay can result in imprisonment.

Fact: In at least 43 states and the District of Columbia, defendants can be billed for their public defender’s services.

Fact: In at least 41 states, inmates can be charged for room and board during jail and prison stays.

Fact: In at least 44 states, offenders can be billed for their own probation and supervision.

Fact: In all states except Hawaii and the District of Columbia, there is a fee for electronic monitoring devices that defendants and offenders are ordered to wear.

Source: Guilty As Charged, NPR