Have you ever been charged with a crime that you were later found not guilty of, or the district attorney dropped the charges, and the judge just ordered you to pay court costs? If you are poor then odds are you have.
Is it fair that even though you are innocent and did nothing wrong, you still have to pay for it? If it has to go to trial, you have to pay legal fees on top of that. If you are found not guilty then isn’t it a mistake by either a police officer or the district attorney? If they made the mistake on behalf of the court then shouldn’t they be liable for the cost you incurred from their mistake?
If you have a job it’s even harder, they don’t pay the wages you’ve lost due to mandatory court hearings, they don’t offer any support if you were let go due to the allegations, nope, they stick you with a bill for court costs and move on to the next victim they can nickel and dime.
Recently, for example, a story appeared in the media about DeShawn Franklin who was wrongfully arrested and tasered by the Indiana police in 2012. After four years of struggling for justice, his family was granted an $18 settlement, although the city of South Bend insisted the family should pay 1500$ in legal expenses which include hotel rooms and mileage for the officers.
This type of extortion needs to end. State and federal judges should waive costs as well as require the city, state, or federal agency to reimburse a wrongfully accused person for costs he/she incurred. State and federal law makers should elaborate and pass a law so that it’s illegal for courts to bill a person if he/she was found innocent.
Sign this petition if you believe that falsely accused people shouldn’t pay court fees.