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State Citation Question Brief answer Language from the opinion When does the case apply?
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Louisiana State v. Frank, 803 So.2d 1, 7 (La.2001), as revised (Apr. 16, 2001)
Under state constitutional or statutory law, what are the minimum requirements for a constitutionally adequate ability-to-pay determination? Include any guidance about the substantive standards to apply, the burden of proof,
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the sources of information that should be considered, and the timing of the determination (i.e. before imposition, before enforcement action, only if incarceration is threatened).
The court may consider such factors as income or funds from employment or any other source, including public assistance, to which the accused is entitled, property owned by the accused
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or in which he has an economic interest, outstanding obligations, the number and ages of dependents, employment and job training history, and level of education.
A trial court must consider several factors before determining whether a defendant is indigent and may review its determination at any time during the proceedings. Louisiana Rev.Stat. 15:147(B)(1) provides that:In
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determining whether or not a person is indigent and entitled to the appointment of counsel, the court shall consider whether the person is a needy person and the extent of his ability to pay. The court may consider such factors as income or funds from employment or any other source, including public assistance, to which the accused is entitled, property owned by the accused or in which he has an economic interest, outstanding obligations, the number and ages of dependents, employment and job training history, and level of education. **5 See also State v. Adams, 369 So.2d 1327, 1329 (La.1979) (citing La.Rev.Stat. 15:147 and 15:148); W. LaFave and J. Israel, 2 Criminal Procedure § 11.2(e) (1984) (“recognizing that the Supreme Court has never offered a specific definition of indigency, but noting that most jurisdictions consider the following factors: (1) income from employment and governmental programs such as social security and unemployment benefits; (2) money on deposit; (3) ownership of real and personal property; (4) total indebtedness and expense; (5) the number of persons dependent on the appellant for support; (6) the cost of the transcript on appeal; and (7) the likely fee of retained counsel for the appeal.”).
Ability to pay
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Louisiana State v. Lanclos, 980 So.2d 643, 651 (La.2008) Does the state’s separation of powers doctrine limit the ability of courts to impose or collect revenue? Fines and fees collected must go towards 'functions of the judicial system'
This Court stated that “[f]following the trend restricting the imposition of court fees to instances where they fund functions of the judicial system, we hold that court filing fees may
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be imposed only for purposes relating to the administration of justice.  This requirement is inherent in our constitutional right of access to the courts and the constitutional separation of powers doctrine. Moreover, our clerks of court should not be made tax collectors for our state, nor should the threshold to our justice system **12 be used as a toll booth to collect money for random programs created by the legislature.” After examining the statute, we found that the money collected did not go to court services, or to any other entity associated with the judicial system. Instead, the money went to a private, nonprofit corporation to be used at its discretion for domestic violence programs. Because the “fee” was not assessed to defray the expenses of litigation or to support the court system, and was a revenue raising measure designed to fund a particular social program, we found that the “fee” imposed by the statute was, in reality, a tax. Safety Net, 692 So.2d at 1041. This Court held that La. R.S. 13:1906 imposed an unconstitutional filing fee in violation of the right of access to the *652 courts and of the separation of powers doctrine because its purpose—to fund domestic abuse services—was unrelated to the administration of justice. Id. at 1043.
Revenue flow
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Louisiana Villanueva v. Comm'n on Ethics for Pub. Employees, 812 So.2d 1, 5–6 (La. Ct. App.1999)
Under state constitutional or statutory law, under what circumstances will the imposition or enforcement of fees or fines create conflicts of interest for courts, police departments, probation departments, or other
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law enforcement agencies?
There does not need to be an actual conflict of interest, only the appearance of one
Furthermore, the mere fact that there is no evidence indicating that Mr. Villanueva attempted to use his influence to obtain the permit or refused to enforce the law with respect
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to Dauvill, or that his officers ever attempted to refrain from inspection duties out of loyalty to their Chief does not preclude a finding of a violation of § 1112B. It is well settled that the Ethics Code is not a criminal statute whose aim is the punishment of persons guilty of public wrongdoing. Rather, its purpose is to prevent public officers and employees from becoming involved in conflicts of interest situations by prohibiting public servants from engaging in certain conduct. Bankston v. Board of Ethics for Elected Officials, 98–0189, p. 1 (La.6/22/98); 715 So.2d 1181, 1181–1182.  The Code prohibits not only actual conflicts of interest, but also guards against the appearance of impropriety, and prevents situations which create the perception of conflicts of interest. Id. at p. 9; 1187; Fulda v. Louisiana Office of Public Health, 96–0647, p. 2 (La.5/10/96); 673 So.2d 201, 202; In Re Beychok, 495 So.2d 1278, 1281 (La.1986); *6 In re Marceaux, 96–1215, p. 4 (La.App. 1 Cir. 2/14/97); 689 So.2d 670, 673. In Glazer v. Commission on Ethics for Public Employees, 431 So.2d 752, 756 (La.1983), the court explained:A conflict of interest is a situation which would require an official to serve two masters, presenting a potential, rather than an actuality, of wrongdoing. The wrongdoing does not have to occur in order for a prohibited conflict to exist. A public official may have done no wrong in the ordinary sense of the word, but a conflict of interest may put him in danger of doing wrong.... The Code is aimed at avoiding even this danger. (Citation omitted) Villanueva v. Comm'n on Ethics for Pub. Employees, 812 So.2d 1, 5–6 (La. Ct. App.1999)
Transparency
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Louisiana State v. Rideau, 943 So.2d 559, 568 (La. Ct. App.2006), writ denied, 963 So.2d 395 (La.2007) Are there limits to the state’s ability to recoup fees for counsel under the state constitution? Yes; especially with indigent defendants the reviewing courts often set aside excessive recoupment fines
Our supreme court has recognized, especially against indigent defendants, the constitution of this State and the United States, does place limits on the power of courts to assess fines and
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costs. Additionally, when enforcement of a statute, as written, violates constitutional principles, the courts have consistently declined to read the statute to reach an unconstitutional result. For example, La.Code Crim.P. art. 884 provides “[i]f a sentence imposed includes a fine or costs, the sentence shall provide that in default of payment thereof the defendant shall be imprisoned for a specified period not to exceed one year.” Despite the clear mandate of this provision, the courts have consistently held an indigent person may not be incarcerated because he is unable to pay a fine or court costs.
Fines and fees
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Louisiana State v. McGowan, 359 So.2d 972, 975 (La.1978) Other applicable caselaw
(b) Release on bail alone shall not disqualify a person for appointment of counsel. In each case, the person subject to the penalty of perjury shall certify in writing such
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material factors relating to his ability to pay as the court prescribe State v. McGowan, 359 So.2d 972, 975 (La.1978)
Ability to pay
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Louisiana State v. Williams, 489 So.2d 286, 291–92 (La. Ct. App.1986) Other applicable caselaw
Louisiana courts have consistently held that an indigent may not be given a fine in default of which a prison term is imposed in excess of the statutory maximum State
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v. Williams, 489 So.2d 286, 291–92 (La. Ct. App.1986)
Enforcement
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Alaska
Jones v. State, No. A-2629, 1989 WL 1595378, at *1–2 (Alaska Ct. App. Feb. 1, 1989) (quoting Zimmerman v. State, 706 P.2d 343, 344 (Alaska App.1985); Karr v. State, 686
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P.2d 1192, 1197 (Alaska 1984)); Alaska Stat. Ann. § 12.55.051
Under state constitutional or statutory law, what are the minimum requirements for a constitutionally adequate ability-to-pay determination? Include any guidance about the substantive standards to apply, the burden of proof,
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the sources of information that should be considered, and the timing of the determination (i.e. before imposition, before enforcement action, only if incarceration is threatened).
Alaska courts must conduct a "serious" inquiry, considering the defendant's assets, as well as the defendant's past and future earning capacity. Statutory law requires the defendant to prove by a
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preponderance of the evidence an inability to pay.
"Under AS 12.55.035, the trial court is under a mandatory duty to consider a defendant's earning capacity in connection with the imposition of any fine. The court's inquiry must be
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“serious” and should include an analysis of any assets that the defendant presently owns, as well as his past and future earning capacity. A determination of a defendant's future earning capacity necessarily requires the court to make:preliminary findings of fact regarding [the defendant's] mental and physical health, [his] education, [his] job skills if any, the kinds of jobs which [he] has held in the past and is capable of performing in the future and the availability of such jobs in the communities in which [the defendant] will likely reside. Once these findings are made, the court is in a position to determine [the defendant's] likely future earnings and the extent to which those earnings will cover [his] likely future expenses for food, clothing and shelter and leave [him] a surplus out of which to pay restitution. The court must fix the amount of the fine and the terms of payment to fall within the realistic limits of the defendant's earning capacity. Failure to make the appropriate inquiry and findings requires automatic reversal and remand." " If, at a hearing under this subsection, the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant will be unable through good faith efforts to satisfy the order requiring payment of the fine or restitution, the court shall modify the order so that the defendant can pay the fine or restitution through good faith efforts. The court may reduce the fine ordered, change the payment schedule, or otherwise modify the order. The court may not reduce an order of restitution but may change the payment schedule."
Ability to pay
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Alaska Alaska Const. art. IV, § 15; Alaska Stat. Ann. § 22.05.020(c); Alaska Stat. Ann. § 28.05.151(a) Does the state’s separation of powers doctrine limit the ability of courts to impose or collect revenue?
The Alasaka Constitution allows the Supreme Court to promulgate rules governing practice and procedure. Furthermore, Alaska Statutory Law allows the Supreme Court to prescribe the fees which may be charged
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for legal services. Indeed, the Supreme Court can also determine which fines and fees may be collected without a court disposition
"The supreme court shall make and promulgate rules governing the administration of all courts. It shall make and promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in civil and criminal cases in
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all courts. These rules may be changed by the legislature by two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house." "The supreme court may prescribe by rule the fees to be charged by all courts for judicial services." "The supreme court shall determine by rule or order those motor vehicle and traffic offenses, except for offenses subject to a scheduled municipal fine, that are amenable to disposition without court appearance and shall establish a scheduled amount of bail, not to exceed fines prescribed by law, for each offense. A municipality shall determine by ordinance the municipal motor vehicle and traffic offenses that may be disposed of without court appearance and shall establish a fine schedule for each offense. "The supreme court shall determine by rule or order those motor vehicle and traffic offenses, except for offenses subject to a scheduled municipal fine, that are amenable to disposition without court appearance and shall establish a scheduled amount of bail, not to exceed fines prescribed by law, for each offense. A municipality shall determine by ordinance the municipal motor vehicle and traffic offenses that may be disposed of without court appearance and shall establish a fine schedule for each offense."
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Alaska Alaska Stat. Ann. § 39.50.090
Under state constitutional or statutory law, under what circumstances will the imposition or enforcement of fees or fines create conflicts of interest for courts, police departments, probation departments, or other
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law enforcement agencies?
No such instance is apparent under the case law. But statutory law prohibits using an official position for obtaining personal financial gain. As such, it is likely impermissible for courts
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or law enforcement to impose or enforce fines or fees when there is a personal interest at stake (as opposed to an institutional interest).
"A public official may not use the official position or office for the primary purpose of obtaining personal financial gain or financial gain for a spouse, dependent child, mother, father,
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or business with which the official is associated or in which the official owns stock. A public official other than an elected or appointed municipal official may not use the official's position or office for the primary purpose of obtaining financial gain for the official's domestic partner."
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Alaska Alaska R. Crim. P. 39; State v. Albert, 899 P.2d 103, 115, 123 (Alaska 1995) Are there limits to the state’s ability to recoup fees for counsel under the state constitution?
The ability to recoup fees is virtually limitless. If the Defendant is convicted of a crime, then the defendant is civilly liable for the costs of counsel regardless of ability
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to pay.
"Rule 39(b) makes all criminal defendants who are provided court-appointed counsel liable upon conviction for the cost of representation. This liability attaches without regard to an individual defendant's financial ability
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to repay. The liability automatically attaches in the form of a civil judgment entered without a prior request or demand for payment. Upon a defendant's conviction, the trial court must issue in all cases, sua sponte, a notice of judgment. . . . Criminal Rule 39 does not violate the equal protection guarantee of the Alaska Constitution."
Ability to pay
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Alaska Cont'l Ins. Companies v. Bayless & Roberts, Inc., 548 P.2d 398, 410 (Alaska 1976) Other applicable caselaw The legislature cannot impede the contempt power
"Thus, statutory enactments which endeavor to limit the necessary contempt powers of the Alaska superior and supreme courts are not binding. Nevertheless, statutory enactments, which reasonably regulate the contempt power,
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as representing the opinion of a coequal branch of the government, should be given effect as a matter of comity unless they fetter the efficient operation of the courts or impair their ability to uphold their dignity and authority."
Enforcement
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Alaska
Dodge v. Municipality of Anchorage, 877 P.2d 270, 272 (Alaska Ct. App. 1994) (quoting State v. Wortham, 537 P.2d 1117, 1120 (Alaska 1975); Collins v. State, 778 P.2d 1171, 1175
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(Alaska App.1989))
Defendants generally should not be sentenced to pay the maximum fine unless the court determines that the defendant is the "worst offender."
Generally, the maximum sentence should not be imposed “without some foundation for characterizing a defendant as the worst type of offender.” A worst offender finding may be based on the
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defendant's background, the seriousness of the current offense, or both."
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Iowa State v. Van Hoff, 415 N.W.2d 647, 649 (Iowa 1987)
Under state constitutional or statutory law, what are the minimum requirements for a constitutionally adequate ability-to-pay determination? Include any guidance about the substantive standards to apply, the burden of proof,
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the sources of information that should be considered, and the timing of the determination (i.e. before imposition, before enforcement action, only if incarceration is threatened).
A determination of reasonableness ... is more appropriately based on [a defendant's] ability to pay the current installments than his ability to ultimately pay the total amount due. A determination of reasonableness ... is more appropriately based on [a defendant's] ability to pay the current installments than his ability to ultimately pay the total amount due. Ability to pay
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Iowa State v. Kurtz, 878 N.W.2d 469, 473 (Iowa Ct. App. 2016) A defendant who seeks to upset a restitution order has the burden to demonstrate either the failure of the court to exercise discretion or an abuse of that discretion. A defendant who seeks to upset a restitution order, however, has the burden to demonstrate either the failure of the court to exercise discretion or an abuse of that discretion. Ability to pay
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Iowa Goodrich v. State, 608 N.W.2d 774, 776 (Iowa 2000) Ability to pay must be determined before imposition.
Constitutionally, a court must determine a criminal defendant's ability to pay before entering an order requiring such defendant to pay criminal restitution pursuant to Iowa Code section 910.2. Section 910.2
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authorizes a court to order the offender to make restitution of court costs and court-appointed attorney's fees “to the extent that the offender is reasonably able to do so.
Ability to pay
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Iowa State v. Kurtz, 878 N.W.2d 469, 472 (Iowa Ct. App. 2016) Are there limits to the state’s ability to recoup fees for counsel under the state constitution?
The restitution ordered to the victim is made without regard to the defendant's ability to pay; however, other reimbursement and costs are ordered only to the extent that the defendant
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is reasonably able to pay.
The restitution ordered to the victim is made without regard to the defendant's ability to pay; however, other reimbursement and costs are ordered only to the extent that the defendant
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is reasonably able to pay. . . . Thus, before ordering payment for court-appointed attorney fees and court costs, the court must consider the defendant's ability to pay.
Ability to pay