IL court fees skyrocket to pay for special programs

IL court fees skyrocket to pay for special programs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS/AP) - A new report says court fees and fines in Illinois have ballooned over the years because they've become bloated with surcharges to pay for programs and services.
Sometimes the added surcharges fund things unrelated to a case, such as law libraries and zero-interest loans for fire departments to buy new trucks.
The findings come from the Statutory Court Fee Task Force, which was created by the Illinois Legislature. The group published its report in late June after a yearlong study.

Bill Schroder, a law professor at SIU, says this issue is problematic.

"It's assessing a fine beyond what the legislature has set as legal and two, it's turning the system into a revenue raising system, to raise revenue for all these special programs," Schroder said. "I mean that's part of the problem, you're assessing all the people who can't afford it, all these fees and costs and they can't afford it."
In McLean County, a DUI offender recently paid $1,742 in fees that went to 25 state and local funds, few of which had any relation to the case.
The task force is recommending that lawmakers rewrite the state's system for imposing fines during next year's legislative session.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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