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|State||Citation||Description/Statute Name||Question||Brief answer||Language from the opinion||When does the case apply?|
|Mississippi||1981 WL 39784 (Miss.A.G.); Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-20 (2)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Does allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the state’s constitution?||apparently not, because judges rule on indigency on a case-by-case basis||
In the event an indigent is unable to pay his fine, a justice court judge may rely upon Section 99-19-20 of the Mississippi Code, 1972 , as amended, as an+ See more
alternative procedure in working with indigents.
|Ability to pay|
|Mississippi||1994 WL 497828 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Which fines and/or fees may be collected by a private vendor?||Any kind of fine or fee, at least for municipalities.||
Section 21-17-l, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, provides that a “. . .municipality may contract with a private attorney or privatecollection agent or agency to collect any type of delinquent payment owed to the municipality including, but+ See more
not limited to, past due feesand fines.”
|Mississippi||1996 WL 224005 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?||The court has the authority to impose "reasonable" fees for costs incurred by the court system.||In response, see the Primeaux opinion which states that Mississippi Code Annotated Section 21-23-7(11) allows a municipal court to impose reasonable costs of court which could include a service of process fee.||Fines and fees|
|Mississippi||1996 WL 369442 (Miss.A.G.)||Mississippi-Attorney General opinion||Other applicable opinions||Court costs that are statutorily mandated must be collected from defendant by the country clerk, whether a judge decides to impose them or not.||
In response, we direct your attention to Mississippi Code Annotated Section 99-19-73 (Supp. 1995), which sets forth the standard state monetary assessments for criminal violations. Specifically, subsection (7) states: If a+ See more
fine or other penalty imposed is suspended, in whole or in part, such suspension shall not affect the state assessment under this section. No state assessment imposed under the provisions of this section may be suspended or reduced by the court. Based on the above quoted statute, the state assessment court costs are collected by the clerk of the court regardless of whether the judge imposes them or not. There are several statutorily imposed fees or costs which are to be collected regardless of whether the judge imposes them or not, e.g. Mississippi Code Annotated Section 19-7-31 allows the boards of supervisors to impose a court cost for the support of a public county law library in their respective counties. This court cost is automatically assessed regardless of whether the judge imposes it or not. Also, upon conviction for writing a bad check, Section 97-19-67(4) directs the court to impose a fee in the amount of up to 85% of the face value of a bad check in addition to any other fine, fee, cost or penalty imposed by the judge. Section 37-26-9(4) imposes a supplemental court education and training cost in all criminal cases where a fine of $10 or more is imposed by the judge. The general rule is that if the cost is statutorily imposed, there is no need for the judge to impose the cost. However, from time to time, a court cost may be incurred in which there is no statutory imposition. In such a case it is within the judge's discretion to impose such a court cost on the defendant.
Tex. Att'y Gen Opinion Op. No. JM-10 (1983),"""Inability to pay fees is an affirmative defense to the failure to pay them.""",ability to pay,,transparencyShould ability to pay be considered when imposing+ See more
fines or fees or only when collecting fines or fees?,,,,,,fines What authority do county or municipal courts have to set fines or fees?,Municipal courts have authority to sets fines and fees so long as they do not exceed the maximum fine or fee permitted by the relevant statute. ,Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. GA-0593 (2008)
court may impose . . . an increase in the defendant's fine, up to a total fine that does not exceed the maximum fine for the offense for which the+ See more
defendant was sentenced
|Who has the burden of proof in an ability to pay determination? What is the standard of proof required?||Burden of proof is on the defendant by preponderance of the evidence. But see Rusk v. State, 440 S.W.3d 694, 702 (Tex. App. 2013)||fines and fees|
Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. JM-176 (1984),"""Proceedings in contempt cases should proceed as near as practical to criminal cases.""",ability to pay,,enforcementDoes allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or+ See more
fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the state’s constitution? ,"Possibly. In Texas, a law that fixes a greater punishment in one county than another is violative of Equal Protection, so a law allowing for different levels of protection or different penalty fines may also violate Equal Protection. ",Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. DM-123 (1992); Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. JM-1120 (1989),"""costs imposed in misdemeanor cases involving state criminal statutes must be uniform statewide . . . a law that fixes a greater punishment in one county than in other counties for the violation of a state law cannot be upheld and is in contravention of constitutional inhibitions, both State and Federal""; ""Assessment of a minimum $50 fine in every Class C misdemeanor hot check case in order to defray the cost of an additional employee would result in the penalty for a state defined crime to be different in Jim Wells County than it is in other counties and would violate both due process and equal protection constitutional rights.""",fines and fees,,ability to pay Which fines and/or fees may be collected by a private vendor? ,Any fines or fees ordered to be paid by a court,Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. JC-0516 (2002)
|The debts that may be collected [are] those which have been ordered to be paid by a court.||
Are the same procedural protections that are required in criminal proceedings required in civil collection/contempt proceedings arising from criminal justice debt when those proceedings may result in incarceration? What if+ See more
the proceedings may only result in additional fines or non-incarceration penalties?
|Contempt case require the same or as near as practicable due process protections as criminal cases.||revenue flow|
|Texas||Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. JC-0516 (2002)||"The debts that may be collected [are] those which have been ordered to be paid by a court."||Which fines and/or fees may be collected by a private vendor?||Any fines or fees ordered to be paid by a court||revenue flow|
|Texas||Tex. Att'y Gen Opinion Op. No. JM-10 (1983)||"Inability to pay fees is an affirmative defense to the failure to pay them."||Who has the burden of proof in an ability to pay determination? What is the standard of proof required?||Burden of proof is on the defendant by preponderance of the evidence. But see Rusk v. State, 440 S.W.3d 694, 702 (Tex. App. 2013)||ability to pay|