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Old Yesterday, 04:37 PM
 
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As part of learning about the criminal justice system and advocating for reform, I came across someone who said their court fees and everything else the court adds, surpassed the fee amount. So for instance, the person given an agreed court fine of $500 but were charged over $1,000 including fees. I don't remember the exact number for the $1,000 amount but it was under $1,150. The point is that the fees were actually more than the court fine itself.



My question is has anyone heard of such a thing? It sounds illegal but hearing about how horrible Cobb County's "justice system" is maybe it's not. These were for non-violent charges btw.



What concerns me is that the agreed to amount $500, is nowhere near to the total that has to be paid. To me it raises ethical questions because if the agreed to amount is $500, how can the court without the person's knowledge end up charging over twice the agreed upon amount after sentencing?
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Old Yesterday, 04:39 PM
 
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I know that they are suppose to be the ones we go to for justice but is there anyone (agency) who monitors this kind of thing or can hold them accountable for excessive fees?
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Old Today, 04:11 AM
 
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Googled and found this: https://gaappleseed.org/initiatives/...ent-defendants. Other results indicate that reporting has covered this problem for years, but, essentially, the majority sentiment seems to believe people guilty until proven innocent and responsible for "getting themselves there" whether or not it was rightly or wrongly.

saw this too, https://theappeal.org/fines-and-fees...-bf4e05d188bf/
https://www.npr.org/2014/05/19/31215...unish-the-poor
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Old Today, 05:51 AM
 
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Decisions are made that lead to a higher proportion of the resources necessary to fund the judicial system becoming the responsibility of it's consumers (those accused of crimes) than by the general public through taxation. Not unique to Cobb either.
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Old Today, 08:33 AM
 
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This has been going on for a long time and it's not just Cobb. There are also medical labs making big money monitoring people.
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Old Today, 08:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seussie View Post
Googled and found this: https://gaappleseed.org/initiatives/...ent-defendants. Other results indicate that reporting has covered this problem for years, but, essentially, the majority sentiment seems to believe people guilty until proven innocent and responsible for "getting themselves there" whether or not it was rightly or wrongly.

saw this too, https://theappeal.org/fines-and-fees...-bf4e05d188bf/
https://www.npr.org/2014/05/19/31215...unish-the-poor

Obviously your google search was much more productive lol. I will have to work on my search skills.



Regarding added fees, I found it interesting via the links you provided that civil fines also attract high fees. I think the problem with criminal fines is that with "crime," most automatically associate it with black people. Michelle Alexander talks about this in her book (The New Jim Crow). Because black people are thought of as inherently bad/criminal, there isn't public outrage over this kind of practice (charging high fees). It's pretty sad that people are being locked up because they can't pay fines/fees. I don't believe fines/fees can be put on credit...
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Old Today, 08:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whodean View Post
Decisions are made that lead to a higher proportion of the resources necessary to fund the judicial system becoming the responsibility of it's consumers (those accused of crimes) than by the general public through taxation. Not unique to Cobb either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
This has been going on for a long time and it's not just Cobb. There are also medical labs making big money monitoring people.

1) Whodean-But it does become the responsibility of the general public because when these people can't pay the high fees, they are arrested and put in jail. The cost of them being in jail/the work it takes to arrest them is far greater than the high fees charged.



2) Thanks for providing this information. I am curious as to how Fulton County charges versus Cobb and Gwinnett. I'm pretty sure there are medical labs making big money monitoring people. This industry (especially regarding drugs) seems to be employing a ton of people and it makes bank off this war from the lawyers, to the bonds people, labs, etc.
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Old Today, 09:15 AM
 
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I don't know about those fees. I actually requested a bench trial earlier this year because the officer was hiding behind bushes which is clearly against the law.

Solicitor is clearly buddies with judge. I was guilty before my trial even started. Officer clearly violated the law in obtaining my speed (which was moving with traffic). My fine went from $225 on the ticket to $350 in court (Brookhaven). WTF is that about? In order to defend yourself you have the PAY MORE?

Oh, and the solicitors deal before trial was "I'll reduce your speed, but I'll increase your fine ....I give you, you give also". I've never heard of a reduction while increasing the fine. What a f'in ahole.
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Old Today, 02:29 PM
 
1,031 posts, read 592,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamerD View Post
1) Whodean-But it does become the responsibility of the general public because when these people can't pay the high fees, they are arrested and put in jail. The cost of them being in jail/the work it takes to arrest them is far greater than the high fees charged.
The fees of all the people that go through the court system support the system, relieving the burden to the public in general. I guess you are suggesting only those who "can pay" should be charged?

The money has to come from somewhere, better those who are using the system than john q.
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Old Today, 07:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATL Golfer View Post
I don't know about those fees. I actually requested a bench trial earlier this year because the officer was hiding behind bushes which is clearly against the law.

Solicitor is clearly buddies with judge. I was guilty before my trial even started. Officer clearly violated the law in obtaining my speed (which was moving with traffic). My fine went from $225 on the ticket to $350 in court (Brookhaven). WTF is that about? In order to defend yourself you have the PAY MORE?

Oh, and the solicitors deal before trial was "I'll reduce your speed, but I'll increase your fine ....I give you, you give also". I've never heard of a reduction while increasing the fine. What a f'in ahole.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodean View Post
The fees of all the people that go through the court system support the system, relieving the burden to the public in general. I guess you are suggesting only those who "can pay" should be charged?

The money has to come from somewhere, better those who are using the system than john q.

1) ATL Golfer-I had to look up what a bench trial is. Didn't even know an option like this is available. I thought something like this existed only for drug court.

Are you sure an officer hiding behind bushes is against the law? Also, did the police officer use a radar gun?


Dude, I can't even answer that question because apparently when you are slapped with fees among other things in addition to the fine, they don't show you. Even if you didn't defend yourself, you'd probably still have ended up paying a lot more than your fine amount.



So about that situation, I am assuming the giving would be because you got a reduced speeding charge, maybe less points on your driver's license/your auto insurance won't go up as much. I'm thinking it's the "future money" where you'd be saving though you have to pay out the *** initially. I'm not saying it's right how they go about things. For example, some people think probation is "getting away" with something but a lot don't know that during this time you are paying fees, travel is restricted, loss of privacy/dignity, etc. In exchange for a lesser charge, the probation is oftentimes increased.



2) I'm going to re-post what Seussie was nice enough to share:



https://theappeal.org/fines-and-fees...-bf4e05d188bf/


"the financial benefits of fines and fees may be illusory. Most places do not track how much it costs to actually collect criminal justice debt—the cost of jail time, the cost of arrest, the cost of issuing a warrant, not to mention the economic cost to an area when someone loses a job."


What I was suggesting is that when you say the high fees fund the judicial system, this implies that there is not a net loss and that either the system is making profit or breaking even. I'm only saying that this isn't a good assumption to make.
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