Michigan's top court lets local court cost scheme stand
July 11, 2019
DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the controversial practice of charging people for the costs of running local courts all over the state.
Critics call it an illegal tax on people convicted of crimes, mostly the poor who can't afford it. The Supreme Court released a brief order Wednesday, saying a 2017 appeals court decision will stand.
The case involved a man who was convicted of assault and ordered to pay $1,611 in Washtenaw County. Courts can consider staff salaries, maintenance costs and services necessary to operate a court. About $80 million was collected statewide in 2016 and 2017, mostly in District Courts.
Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says the current system will "limp forward," at least until the law expires in October 2020 and lawmakers are forced to do something.
In April, a commission said the system is "broken."