Poverty Penalties and Poverty Traps

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State Statute Description/Statute Name Statutory language Type of poverty penalty or poverty trap Level of offense Mandatory
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Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 757.66 Recovery of legal fees paid for indigent defendants
Whenever a county or the state has paid for legal representation of an indigent defendant and the county board or the department of justice so requires, the clerk of the
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court where representation for the indigent was appointed shall prepare, sign and record in the office of the register of deeds a certificate stating the name and residence of the indigent beneficiary, the amount paid by the county or the state for his or her legal representation, the date when paid, the court and county in which the case was heard and such other information as the county board directs. If a certificate is recorded within 6 months after payment is made by the county or the state it may, within the time after the recording provided by s. 893.86, commence an action to recover from the indigent defendant, or his or her estate if the action is commenced within the time set for filing claims by creditors, the amount paid by the county or the state for his or her legal representation. In any such action ss. 859.02 and 893.86, so far as applicable, may be pleaded in defense. The claim shall not take precedence over the allowances in ss. 861.31, 861.33 and 861.35. The district attorney or the department of justice, as applicable, shall commence and prosecute all actions and proceedings necessary under this section to make the recovery when it appears that the indigent defendant or his or her estate is able to pay the claim.
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