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|State||Citation||Description/Statute Name||Question||Brief answer||Language from the opinion||When does the case apply?|
|Ohio||1990 Ohio Op. Atty. Gen. No. 90-088 (Nov. 14 1990)||Fines and fees||Does allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the state’s constitution?||Indigency should be determined on a case-by-case basis, not through set standards||
A gleaning of the aforementioned authorities clearly reveals that there are no set criteria for determining whether an individual is indigent. Rather, the preferred approach is to determine indigency on+ See more
a case by case basis so as to accord attention to any and all factors tending to indicate an individual's financial condition. . . . [T]he the criteria for determining . . . whether an individual is indigent, include the ready availability of real or personal property owned; employment benefits; pensions; annuities; social security; unemployment compensation; inheritances; number and age of dependents; outstanding debts, obligations and liabilities; and any other relevant considerations concerning the financial condition of an individual.
|Ohio||no||Fines and fees||What authority does the state supreme court have to impose binding state-wide rules on the imposition or collection of fees and fines?||
This has not been considered by courts or the State AG. But the Ohio Supreme Court issues "bench cards" guiding the lower courts on how to implement fines. See, e.g.,+ See more
The Supreme Court of Ohio, Office of Judicial Services, Collection of Fines and Court Costs (2014)
|Illinois||1992 WL 469752 (Ill.A.G.); 1985 Ill. Atty. Gen. Op. 166 (Ill.A.G.), 1985 WL 68990; 1978 Ill. Atty. Gen. Op. 175 (Ill.A.G.), 1978 WL 17642||Illinois-Attorney General opinion||What authority does the state supreme court have to impose binding state-wide rules on the imposition or collection of fees and fines?||Revenue flow|
|Tennessee||Cf. Tenn. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89-03 (Jan. 12, 1989)||Imprisonment for Contempt of Non-Payment of Fines||Does allowing different municipalities to set their own indigency standards or fines/fees violate the equal protection afforded by the states constitution?||Municipalities can set their own standards as long as the standards comply with constitutional and statutory protections||
"The municipal charter provides that the city court may imprison a party for up to ten days for violation of city ordinances, and the city council has passed a resolution+ See more
to this effect.It appears that the municipal provision outlined above complies with the procedures described in T.C.A. § 4024104, as well as constitutional safeguards, for determination of the defendant's ability to pay, thereby giving rise to an inference of willful disobedience and contempt of court where there has been a subsequent missed payment without notice of good cause to the court."
|Ability to pay|
|Tennessee||Tenn. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89-104 (Aug. 17, 1989) (citing State ex rel. Wright v. Upchurch, 254 S.W.2d 748, 749 (Tenn. 1953))||Whether a Defendant Found in Willful Contempt of Court for Failure to Pay Child Support May Be Incarcerated Where He Lacks the Present Ability to Pay the Arrearage.||Who has the burden of proof in an ability to pay determination? What is the standard of proof required?||At least in civil contempt proceedings, the burden of proof is on the defendant.||
"In any case, the inability to pay is an affirmative defense to a petition for civil contempt and the burden of proof is on the defendant to establish his inability+ See more
|Ability to pay|
|Tennessee||Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-24-104; Tenn. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89-03 (Jan. 12, 1989)||Imprisonment for Contempt for NonPayment of Fines||Should ability to pay be considered when imposing fines or fees or only when collecting fines or fees?||Statutory law provides that ability to pay must be considered when collecting fines, but at least some courts consider ability to pay when imposing fines and fees as well.||
If the defendant fails to pay the fine as directed, or is unable to pay the fine and so represents upon application to the court, the court, after inquiring into+ See more
and making further investigation, if any, which it may deem necessary with regard to the defendant's financial and family situation and the reasons for nonpayment of the fine, including whether the nonpayment was contumacious or was due to indigency, may enter any order that it could have entered under § 40-24-101, or may reduce the fine to an amount that the defendant is able to pay, or may direct that the defendant be imprisoned until the fine, or any portion of it, remaining unpaid or remaining undischarged after a pro rata credit for any time that may already have been served in lieu of payments, is paid. The court shall determine and specify, in the light of defendant's situation and means and of defendant's conduct with regard to the nonpayment of the fine, the period of any imprisonment in default of payment of the fine within the limits of the penalties for a Class C misdemeanor. In the instant situation, the following circumstances form the factual basis resulting in the issuance of a capias for contempt of court: When a fine is imposed, a hearing is held at the same time to determine the defendant's ability to pay. If it appears that defendant cannot pay, the case is continued for several months to see if circumstances change during that time. If the court determines that defendant is able to pay or to make payments, a payment schedule is set up. Defendant is instructed at that time to notify the court if any emergency comes up and, if so, the court will consider defendant's excuse. If defendant thereafter misses a payment and has not notified the court, then a capias is issued for his arrest for contempt of court, since there has already been a finding that that defendant is able to pay.
|Ability to pay|