Sirens & Gavels

Court ruling brings relief to court debtors

Offenders who owe court fees and fines are no longer being forced to agree to a pre-determined jail sentence if they fail to make scheduled payments.

The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that people with court debts are entitled to a new hearing to gauge their ability to pay.

Someone who lost his or her job, for instance, or who was hospitalized might be given the chance to make a new payment arrangement and avoid automatic jail time, said Scott Mason, an assistant Spokane County public defender.

Read the rest of Jody Lawrence-Turner's story here.

Past coverage:

May 24, 2009: Unpaid court fines land convicts back in jail




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