Another attempt to nickel and dime the poor by the Arkansas GOP | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Another attempt to nickel and dime the poor by the Arkansas GOP

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2019 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge caldwell.jpg
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 6, to hear SB237, a bill sponsored by Sen. Ronald Caldwell (R-Wynne) and co-sponsored by a handful of other Republican legislators that would double the amount of the jail booking and administration fee imposed on all those convicted of or receiving a deferred sentence on any felony or a class A misdemeanor from $20 to $40. Ten percent of this money goes to the "Law Enforcement Training Fund" administered by the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. The remainder goes to the local jails.

Twenty dollars may not seem like much to some, but when combined with hundreds or thousands of dollars in court costs and fines, it adds up. Especially when you consider that each court charges a $10 collection fee per month for any unpaid balance. For example, if someone owes fines to four different courts, that is $40 per month, almost $500 per year, owed before the original balance is even touched. In my days as a public defender, I commonly had clients who struggled for years to pay their court-ordered fines. Money that could have gone to hire an attorney, to housing, for childcare, or a more reliable vehicle to help get to work instead went straight into the court coffers. And if they don't pay, they are likely to be arrested and face even more fines and costs. Funding state and local services on the backs of the poor is no way to get ahead and just doesn't make sense.

A judge does have the discretion to give credit for each day spent in jail for nonpayment. However, despite rising court costs and fees, the dollar amount he or she may credit against an defendant's fines has held steady at $40 per day for the past 16 years. Funny how that works. 

Tags: , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Autumn Tolbert

  • The inevitability of Beto

    Robert "Beto" O'Rourke announced he is joining the field for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary. It comes as no surprise to those paying attention. There was speculation from some the former Representative from Texas might hold off and challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in 2020, but Beto O'Rourke is going for the big win.
    • Mar 14, 2019
  • How white discomfort helps Trump

    Check out an excellent, short read about the "unmarked category" from Paul Campos over on "Lawyers, Guns & Money" sent to me by a friend after he read my commentary on the bill designed to equalize the number of men and women on certain state boards and commission.
    • Mar 7, 2019
  • A new bill calls for an equal number of men and women on state boards and commissions

    Just in time for Women's History Month, Rep. Deborah Ferguson (D-West Memphis) filed HB 1676 to require equal representation of men and women on certain state boards and commissions.
    • Mar 5, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Little Rock school activists announce events for 60th anniversary of Central High crisis

    The group is not affiliated with the official "Reflections of Progress" commemoration of the 60th anniversary. However, at least two of the Little Rock Nine may be joining the group for an event at 2:30 p.m. at the state Capitol in the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Trump tariffs hit farmers hard

    Well, the trade war has begun and the early returns for farmers are not good — sharp reductions in the prices for soybeans and corn. You may have heard that Arkansas, which overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump, has some agricultural interests, particularly in soybeans.
    • Jul 6, 2018
  • Arkansas legislature rejects bipartisan effort to study race relations

    On Friday, the Arkansas Legislative Council soundly rejected a bipartisan effort by two senators to to create a temporary legislative subcommittee to study race relations in the state.
    • Sep 15, 2017

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation