University of Pretrial Library

Resources on Pretrial Fines and Fees 

01-30-2019 10:16 AM

Whether or not to charge fines and fees, especially before trial, has drawn a great deal of attention lately. This library entry gathers some resources on the topic (links below plus documents), as well as litigation around the issue as of 1/30/2019.



"A few states have extended ability-to-pay determinations to include pretrial supervision fees, such as those for electronic monitoring or substance use treatment. Nebraska directs the courts to waive pretrial supervision fees that a defendant cannot afford, while Illinois law presumes conditions of release are nonmonetary. California’s recently enacted legislation goes the furthest by prohibiting courts from requiring a defendant to pay any pretrial supervision fees."

Pretrial jail fees have been challenged on the basis that they punish those who have been charged but not convicted of a crime, although several courts have upheld them as constitutional. In 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld Virginia’s pay-to-stay fee, ruling that it didn’t constitute punishment violating a pretrial detainee’s due process rights. Similarly, in 2013, a U.S. District Court judge in Wisconsin ruled that Brown County’s $20-per-day fee did not violate the due process rights of a man who racked up $9,160 in fees between his initial booking until his transfer to the state prison system.

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Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Policy Program, "CONF...   600 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 01-30-2019
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The People v. Duenas   167 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 01-30-2019
California Courts of Appeal rules that imposing fees and fines without considering ability to pay violates state and federal constitutional guarantees.
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Amicus Brief in Lovelace v. Illinois   169 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 01-30-2019
Fines and Fees Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Cato Institute amicus brief to examine the current use of and constitutionality of bond fees
docx file
Case for Eliminating Pretrial and Other Fees from Civil R...   104 KB   1 version
Uploaded - 02-04-2019

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