The U.S. Supreme Court is about to take up
a Minnesota case with implications in Arkansas and many other states — the rising burden of court costs and fees, sometimes assessed even on people ultimately found innocent of charges that brought them to court.
An unusual coalition of civil rights organizations, criminal defense lawyers and conservative and libertarian groups have challenged these sorts of policies, saying they confiscate private property without constitutional protections and lock poor people into a cycle of fines, debts and jail.
The ACLU indeed has filed a lawsuit over the operations of the hot check court in Sherwood, where we've reported on people trappe
d in years-long cycles of jail and fines for small hot checks.
Fees are hidden throughout the system. To name one:
Every person who bonds out of jail using a professional bail bond pays a public defender fee even if they don't use a public defender or not convicted. They also pay a fee to the sheriff's association and the bail bond board. These fees were engineered by the bail bond industry to make them "relevant." Critics say it's among the most predatory fees.