The list of process costs is long and can be a number of necessities for process preparation and the process itself. For example, it may be necessary to hire experts and pay the salaries of paralegals and other employees, as well as the fees of consultants, specialists and private detectives. Here are other examples of litigation costs: This increase in fees and fines has cost man dearly. Individual amounts may be small, but they can add up quickly, meaning poor people can face hundreds or thousands of dollars of accumulated debt that they can`t pay. While “debtor prisons” have been declared unconstitutional, many states still detain people for failing to pay the debts of the criminal justice system. And even if non-payment is not an explicit charge, prison sentences are imposed for non-appearance or non-compliance – violations that are often due to non-payment. In Socorro County, New Mexico, for example, a judge adopted a “three strike” policy. For each non-payment of unpaid court fees, the court`s response to execution ranges from an arrest warrant to a bail arrest warrant to a charge of non-compliance, which carries a three-day prison sentence. Every day he has spent in prison can then be counted towards the unpaid debts of the accused. footnote14_513okuh 14 Deborah Fowler et al., Pay or Stay: The High Cost of Jailing Texans for Fines and Fees, Texas Appleseed and Texas Fair Defense Project, 2017, www.texasappleseed.org/sites/default/files/PayorStay_Report_final_Feb2017.pdf. Under the guise of various charges, such a policy perpetuates the function of a debtors` prison. The estimated cost of litigation is a determining factor in determining whether a dispute is being pursued. If the amount of the legal costs exceeds what could be awarded in a case, the action would not be worth it.
Typically, a defendant will agree to pay the plaintiff an agreed amount, called settlement, if that amount is less than the estimated costs that would be incurred in defending against the plaintiff`s claims. The deposit fee is the amount of money you have to pay to the court to start your legal proceedings. The amount of money you have to pay depends on the court and the nature of the case. You may have to pay different registration fees at certain points in your file. The court clerk can give you a list of all the filing fees for your court case so you know the total cost. While state laws dictate the distribution of funds collected by the criminal justice system, the distribution of income varies. In New Orleans, for example, the $11.5 million in criminal court fees and fines levied in 2015 was split among eight agencies that provided funds to the city court, district court, public defense attorneys, and traffic court. footnote21_83qj2ku 21 Mathilde Laisne et al., Past Due: Investigating the Cost and Consequences of Charging for Justice in New Orleans, Vera Institute of Justice, 2017, 20-21, www.vera.org/publications/past-due-costs-consequences-charging-for-justice-new-orleans. In Allegan County, Michigan, half of the court-imposed fees were spent on operating the district courthouse, paying employee salaries, heating the courthouse, purchasing photocopiers, and covering the cost of the county employees` gymnasium.
footnote22_ay7zji9 22 Shapiro: “As legal costs rise, the poor pay the price.” Jurisdictions differ in the specific costs that are considered “court fees”. Most court fees are set by federal or state laws, although courts may clarify the standard if the legal rule is ambiguous, confusing, or controversial. For example, Section 102,020 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure required criminals convicted of certain crimes to pay a $250 court fee to cover the cost of DNA registration. In discussing this article, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Peraza v. State that a legally required Texas judicial award does not need to be “necessary” or “incidental” to the criminal proceedings, but must only be awarded for a “legitimate purpose” related to the administration of the Texas criminal justice system. It is the judges, not the jurors, who make the final decision when disputes arise over court costs. Revelations that cities like Ferguson, Missouri, charge millions of dollars in fees to poor citizens sparked a national debate in 2014 about predatory and regressive measures targeting vulnerable communities. footnote13_krmiywg 13 Joseph Shapiro, “In Ferguson, Court Fines And Fees Fuel Anger,” NPR, August 25, 2014, www.npr.org/2014/08/25/343143937/in-ferguson-court-fines-and-fees-fuel-anger.
The city was counting on increased fines imposed on municipal courts to offset 20% of its $12 million operating budget in fiscal 2013. footnote14_x4c06al 14 Department of Justice, Ferguson Police Department Investigation, 9, www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/ferguson_police_department_report.pdf But Ferguson is not alone. As described below, fee and fine notices in each of the states studied entail significant costs for those who go through the criminal justice system, many of whom are poor. In all three states, billions of dollars are calculated regardless of solvency. According to the Federal Reserve, many Americans are unable to pay an unexpected bill of $400. Federal Reserve footnote15_0zlyye4 15, “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018”, www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/2018-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201905.pdf. The fees and fines collected in these three states may well be higher than the average defendant can afford (and the notable growth in unpaid fees and fine debts confirms this). This is especially true when there is evidence that policing often has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.
footnote16_usg591l 16 Frank R. Baumgartner, Derek A. Epp and Kelsey Shoub, “What 20 Million Traffic Stops Reveal About Policing and Race in America,” Scholars Strategy Network, June 1, 2018, scholars.org/brief/what-20-million-traffic-stops-reveal-about-policing-and-race-america. No one knows how much is due in total because few states and courts follow this information – which in itself is a problem that requires special attention. But from 2012 to 2018, the states of Florida, New Mexico and Texas amassed a total of nearly $1.9 billion in uncollected debt. footnote12_9r3bnln 12 See figure 3; Brennan Center calculations. And in each of the jurisdictions examined here, the amount of outstanding debt increased significantly during the period under review. Much of this debt is unlikely to ever be recovered, as those with low incomes have no resources to fall back on to pay. Often, when a person is unable or unwilling to pay a fee or fine, the court issues an arrest warrant. footnote9_az6di3o 9 Ted Alcorn, “Handcuffed and Arrested for Not Paying a Ticket,” New York Times, 8.
May 2019, www.nytimes/com/2019/05/08/nyregion/suspending-licenses-minor-offense-money.html. Often, poor people do not show up for their court appointments, because of a transportation problem (their permit may have been revoked), or because they have to work, or because they fear being arrested for non-payment. In these cases, courts often issue an arrest warrant for non-appearance, resulting in an additional debt for the defendant and, in some jurisdictions, a prison sentence. footnote10_9t1xtoa 10 Ibid. Some defence lawyers receive a credit for their debts at a daily rate set by the government for the time they spend in detention; others incur additional debts in the form of imprisonment costs; and some are released and still owe the amount they owed before the warrant was issued. footnote11_mxqmimf 11 See figure 5; N.M. Stat. § 30; Fla. titmouse. XLVI; Tex.
Penal code. Detention is particularly counterproductive, not only because detention is extremely costly for the courts, but also because it reduces a person`s ability to pay unpaid fees. .