Who Pays? Fines, Fees, Bail, and the Cost of Courts

222 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2018

See all articles by Judith Resnik

Judith Resnik

Yale University - Law School

Anna VanCleave

Yale University - Law School

Kristen Bell

Yale University - Law School

Skylar Albertson

Yale University, Law School, Students

Natalia Friedlander

Yale University, Law School, Students

Illyana Green

Yale University, Law School, Students

Michael Morse

Yale University, Law School, Students

Date Written: April 19, 2018

Abstract

In the last decades, growing numbers of people have sought to use courts, government budgets have declined, new technologies have emerged, arrest and detention rates have risen, and arguments have been leveled that private resolutions are preferable to public adjudication. Lawsuits challenge the legality of fee structures, money bail, and the imposition of fines. States have chartered task forces to propose changes, and new research has identified the effects of the current system on low-income communities and on people of color. The costs imposed through fees, surcharges, fines, and bail affect the ability of plaintiffs and defendants to seek justice and to be treated justly.

This volume, prepared for the 21st Annual Arthur Liman Center Colloquium, explores the mechanisms for financing court systems and the economic challenges faced by judiciaries and by litigants. We address how constitutional democracies can meet their obligations to make justice accessible to disputants and to make fair treatment visible to the public. Our goals are to understand the dimensions of the problems, the inter-relationships among civil, criminal, and administrative processes, and the opportunities for generating the political will to bring about reform.

Keywords: debt, fines, fees, bail, courts, due process, risk assessment, proportionality, equality, general revenue, financing, user fees

Suggested Citation

Resnik, Judith and VanCleave, Anna and Bell, Kristen and Albertson, Skylar and Friedlander, Natalia and Green, Illyana and Morse, Michael, Who Pays? Fines, Fees, Bail, and the Cost of Courts (April 19, 2018). Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 644. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3165674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3165674

Judith Resnik (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-1447 (Phone)
203-432-1719 (Fax)

Anna VanCleave

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Kristen Bell

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Skylar Albertson

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Natalia Friedlander

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Illyana Green

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Michael Morse

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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