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NYC Bar To Lawmakers: End Criminal Court Fees (Law360)

Law360, December 2, 2018

NYC Bar To Lawmakers: End Criminal Court Fees

“The New York City Bar Association is calling on state lawmakers to end a requirement that people convicted of a crime pay various court fees, saying in a new report that the fines function as a ‘regressive tax’ that disproportionately harms low-income offenders, including those convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors. Judges in New York used to be able to waive such costs for indigent defendants, but the state’s Sentencing Reform Act, a 1995 tough-on-crime omnibus bill, included a provision that did away with judicial discretion, making the fines mandatory. Failure to pay the fines, which range from $95 for a violation to $300 for a felony, can result in a bench warrant, and can earn offenders more prison time, advocates say.”

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