Zoom Logo

Fines and Fees Overview - Shared screen with speaker view
Julie Morris
29:26
Welcome! Please message me with any tech questions or issues.
State Rep. James White
30:09
State Rep. White
Jani Maselli
30:11
Jani Maselli - Harris County Public Defender's Office
Dena Jackson (she, her, hers)
30:11
Hello! Dena Jackson, Texas Women's Foundation
Zarin Gracey
30:16
Zarin Gracey
Woody Widrow RAISE Texas
30:17
Woody Widrow, RAISE Texas, Austin
John Burruss, Metrocare
30:20
John Burruss, MD
Roy Lopez
30:22
Roy Lopez, Dallas Fed...
Laura Cisneros
30:25
Good Morning from San Antonio, Tx! Laura Cisneros, WellMed Charitable Foundation
Christel she/her
30:25
Christel, Austin
Nancy.E.Brown
30:25
Nancy Brown, Charles Schwab Bank, Managing Director HQ Westlake, Tx - Personally located in Reno, NV
Brettney Moore
30:27
Brettney Moore Attorney Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas Dallas
Elizabeth Jensen
30:27
Elizabeth Jensen, Chrest Foundation, Irving, TX
Chris Woodruff
30:30
Chris Woodruff (Pathfinders) Fort Worth, Tarrant County
Marisela.Navarro
30:31
Good morning. Marisela Navarro with Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, Dallas
Lauren Gates
30:31
Lauren Gates, RAISE Texas, Austin
Annika Little
30:32
Hello - Annika Little with AFN I'm based in Dallas.
Genesis Gavino
30:32
Genesis D. Gavino, Resilience Officer, City of Dallas, Dallas, TX
Priya Sarathy Jones
30:32
Priya Sarathy Jones - Fines and Fees Justice Center
Jonathan Lewis
30:36
Jonathan Lewis (he/him), Every Texan, Austin Texas
Anna Crockett
30:36
Anna Crockett with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch
Lauren Loney
30:40
Lauren Loney (ATX) and I'm the Texas State Director, the Humane Society of the United States
Andy.Taylor
30:44
Andy Taylor, The Linebarger Firm, Dallas Office
Chris
30:45
Chris Browne, Commissioner Rodney Ellis - Harris County, TX
Zarin Gracey
30:45
Zarin Gracey, Assistant Director, Economic Development for the City of Dallas
Andrea Marsh
30:45
Andrea Marsh, Univ. of Texas School of Law
Amanda Woog
30:47
Amanda Woog, Texas Fair Defense Project
Alberto Garcia
30:49
Alberto Garcia, Austin
Linda
30:50
Linda Lamar, Dickerson Center for Civic Responsibility, nonprofit, DeSoto, TX
Vanessa Perez
30:51
Vanessa Pérez, Austin Community College, Financial Aid Specialist
Peter Urrutia
30:58
Peter Urrutia with Linebarger Attorneys at Law in Dallas.
Joe Antolin
31:00
Joe Antolin, Asset Funders Network, Albuquerque
John Burruss, Metrocare
31:05
John Burruss, MD from Metrocare Services, Dallas
Brad Dudding
31:06
Hi all, Brad Dudding from The Bail Project. We have three sites in TX.
Brenda Allen
31:07
Hello from Dallas, TX! Brenda Allen, District Director for State Representative John Turner
Don Baylor
31:08
Don Baylor, Jr. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Austin
Karen Murrell
31:12
Karen Murrell, Asset Funders Network, Silver Spring MD
Madlin Mekelburg
31:14
Madlin Mekelburg, Austin American-Statesman
JANET RIVERA
31:32
Hello everyone! I am Janet Rivera and I’m here on behalf of of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Glad to be here with you all!
Courtney
31:49
Courtney Broderick, Legislative Assistant, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia
Emily Gerrick
32:29
Emily Gerrick, Texas Fair Defense Project
Chris Harris
34:47
Chris Harris, Texas Appleseed
Stephanie Mace
34:59
Good morning, everyone! Stephanie Mace with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
Kristin Meeks
35:57
Kristin Meeks, Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Dallas, TX
edenmyers
35:58
Eden Myers, Advocates for Social Justice Reform, Austin TX.
Revlynn Lawson
36:38
Revlynn Lawson - Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, Austin, TX
Tiffini Smith RRH Case Manager
36:43
Tiffini Smith, Rapid Rehousing Case Manager with Center for Transforming Lives
Rebecca S
38:20
are these fees the same statewide? or vary by county?
Rebecca S
39:16
ope. rebecca sanchez, grassroots leadership, atx.
Karen Murrell
40:35
Read the Report from The Brennan Center and Texas Public Policy Foundation: The Steep Costs of Criminal Justice Fees and Fines https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/2019_10_Fees%26Fines_Final5.pdf
Woody Widrow RAISE Texas
41:32
Is there any data on the average amount of unpaid fines or fees that result in someone going to jail?
edenmyers
44:08
Are these figures corrected for inflation?
Karly Jo Dixon
45:02
Karly Jo Dixon - Texas Fair Defense Project
Lauren-Brooke Eisen
45:47
The data is from 2012-2018
Lauren-Brooke Eisen
46:13
Great question Woody, but we were not able to collect that data for this report
Zarin Gracey
46:41
"unreliable revenue" (I appreciate this term). How do they intend to use this revenue.
edenmyers
53:11
What were the two primary revenue sources for TIDC? Traffic violations and…?
Shenita Cleveland
58:47
They can’t pay because the poorest are being targeted by the criminal justice system. They have no money.
Lauren-Brooke Eisen
01:00:35
To Marc's question: Some jurisdictions have allowed a grace period to pay fees and fines during the pandemic but many of these are just short grace periods and not elimination of these debts
William Marple
01:01:36
We have a grant at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas from LSC to train and recruit pro bono attorneys to clear traffic fines and costs to allow clients to get DLs and State IDs.
Shenita Cleveland
01:01:44
Very entangled web.
Lauren-Brooke Eisen
01:02:54
We've been collecting some information about how courts have responded to fee and fine debt during the pandemic here: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/easing-burden-fees-and-fines-during-covid-19
Marc Levin
01:03:12
In regard to the question on TIDC funding, the biggest source is court costs and much of that is from traffic tickets and marijuana offenses that are taken to court.
Shenita Cleveland
01:04:16
Rent takes up the rest.
Shenita Cleveland
01:05:52
More trauma to the family.
Marc Levin
01:06:20
Some data from TIDC which shows the instability of revenue stemming from court costs primarily on traffic violations and, to a lesser degree, marijuana cases: January 2020 revenue to TIDC was down 44% compared to last year, then February was even, then down 59% in March, down 94% in April, and down 9% in May.
Shenita Cleveland
01:06:36
It’s a vicious cycle.
Rebecca S
01:07:35
wow.
Shenita Cleveland
01:08:57
Resources breed peace. Poverty breeds crime.
Marc Levin
01:09:22
Recommend checking out this article on the negative impact of the Omnibase (failure to pay/failure to appear) surcharge program. It highlights not just the aggregate results of hundreds of thousands of suspended licenses, but also how it specifically affected a woman named Annisa Kotara. https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/business/texas-country-steer-toward-ending-drivers-license-suspensions-for-court-debt/article_fe0207b4-fb61-11e9-af99-af3abffafcbd.html
lzuniga@flcct.org
01:10:31
The Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas has a very successful program in partnership with Judge McLean at Williamson County . On the pilot alone (7 months) we dismissed 500 cases and waived around $128,000 worth in fines. We have expanded the program to Juvenile services and we are looking at scaling the program.
Lauren Loney
01:11:41
Thank you for sharing you story, Destiny.
Shenita Cleveland
01:11:51
What do you think needs to change about the system when it comes to fines and fees?
Dr. Lee
01:11:51
Thank you so much
Christel she/her
01:11:54
thank you for sharing
Amanda Woog
01:12:00
Destiney, thank you so much for sharing your story. What would you like to see change?
edenmyers
01:12:09
Good luck with your daughter’s diabetes!
Jani Maselli
01:12:31
Destiny -- you are amazing handling your daughter with Type I -- that's very challenging!
Patricia Mejia
01:12:47
not a question just a comment. I admire your diligence. thank you for sharing.
Shenita Cleveland
01:13:10
Wow. wages you barely have. Thanks for sharing.
Annika Little
01:13:19
Destiny - thank you so much for sharing your story
Chantel Pridgon
01:13:24
yes that was a big plus not many people knew of the indigent program
Marc Levin
01:13:35
A major victory last session was abolishing the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP), including retroactively. The exorbitant surcharges in the DRP for DWI were converted to additional fines so that still presents a challenge for those convicted of DWI who are not wealthy.
Marc Levin
01:14:12
However, most of those affected by DRP were actually non-DWI cases (such as three moving violations of any kind in an arbitrary 12 month period), so this was still a major step forward.
Emily Gerrick
01:14:49
and unfortunately many people who had their DRP holds lifted still have OmniBase holds and are in the same position as before
Shenita Cleveland
01:15:09
Sounds predatory.
Roy Lopez
01:16:28
Thank you so much Destiny for your honesty and candor.
Don Baylor
01:16:30
Eliminating the asset test would be a huge step forward for criminal justice reform, health care access as well as a reasonable response to the COVID crisis
Billy Bob Cox
01:16:59
Very informative. Thanks for being so open.
iPad
01:17:35
Thank you all very much!
Karen Murrell
01:17:51
Join us for tomorrow’s session on Government Fines and FeesPunishing Poverty: Driver's License Suspensions--Thursday, Dec. 3 • 10–11:30 a.m. CT: This day will focus on driver's license suspensions as a counterintuitive and overly punitive tool for collecting court debt and highlight actionable solutions for philanthropy. https://www.cvent.com/c/express/8683da15-c56d-433a-9665-a07aba82e760Join us for tomorrow’s session on Government Fines and FeesPunishing Poverty: Driver's License Suspensions--Thursday, Dec. 3 • 10–11:30 a.m. CT: This day will focus on driver's license suspensions as a counterintuitive and overly punitive tool for collecting court debt and highlight actionable solutions for philanthropy. https://www.cvent.com/c/express/8683da15-c56d-433a-9665-a07aba82e760
Shenita Cleveland
01:19:52
Yes, the entire criminal justice system needs to be looked at.
Shenita Cleveland
01:21:20
Exactly.
Marc Levin
01:23:27
One related issue that Judge Brown's comments reminded me of is civil asset forfeiture. In Texas, a person's property can not only be seized but forfeited to the government even though they have yet to be convicted. Moreover, if the person is exonerated or never charged, they must bring a civil suit to get their car, cash, or other property back. Data shows forfeitures disproportionally impact low income individuals and people of color, even though the original intent was to go after drug kingpins. In many cases, the cost of hiring an attorney to bring a civil suit would exceed the value of the property, so the government keeps the property by default. Forfeiture abuse also exacerbates tensions between police and communities. Matt Taibbi's book about Eric Garner, who was suffocated to death by police, notes that he was frequently had all his cash taken by police, even when going to the grocery store.
Shenita Cleveland
01:24:48
@Marc Levin You are spot on. It should be unconstitutional if it’s not already.
Marc Levin
01:25:55
Next session lawmakers should pass reforms to move from civil to criminal forfeiture, effectively requiring a conviction before title passes to the government. Barring that, the standard can be changed in other proposed legislation from mere preponderance of the evidence that the property was connected to a crime to clear and convincing evidence.
Marc Levin
01:27:00
That bill to heighten burden of proof has already been filed for 2021. Another reform would be to require property be returned after a certain time if no case is brought or no conviction is obtained.
Shenita Cleveland
01:27:01
That sounds like great legislation. @Marc
Marc Levin
01:27:55
Thanks!
Christel she/her
01:28:57
why don’t all judges address these problems,s as you do?
iPad
01:29:07
Suspending a license I never had.
Shenita Cleveland
01:29:13
Not all judges care.
Shenita Cleveland
01:29:45
Amen.
Chris Harris
01:29:59
Hear hear
Chris
01:30:01
Question Judge Brown: Are the things that the Harris County Commissioner's Court can do with respect to the budget that would discourage JP judges from assessing excessive fines.
Shenita Cleveland
01:30:23
Read it and uphold it differently.
Marc Levin
01:32:28
Here is the bill to move from civil to criminal forfeiture filed by Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson: HB 251Thompson, Senfronia(D)Relating to repealing civil asset forfeiture provisions and establishing criminal asset forfeiture in this state.
Shenita Cleveland
01:36:53
Exactly. We were already poor and unhealthy.
Amanda Woog
01:37:39
Houston Driven by Debt report: https://www.texasappleseed.org/sites/default/files/DrivenByDebt-Houston-July2020.pdf
Shenita Cleveland
01:38:47
Exactly!!! Now you’re really talking. @taxes
Karly Jo Dixon
01:40:37
and people do go to jail for these type of cases.
Jani Maselli
01:41:52
TIDC scooped in and took fees the CCA found unconstitutional instead of letting defendants pay less - they just took that money.
Jeremy Brown
01:41:53
My email address jleebrown84@gmail.com
Annika Little
01:42:26
Thank you Judge Brown!
Billy Bob Cox
01:42:35
Weren't there laws against debtor prisons?
Chris
01:42:41
Thank you Judge!
Chantel Pridgon
01:42:46
thank you everyone
Billy Bob Cox
01:42:59
Thanks for what you are doing your honor.
Lauren Loney
01:42:59
Such a fantastic discussion, y'all! Thank you so very much for your time!
Christel she/her
01:43:04
thank you for the work you are doing.
Annika Little
01:43:20
Judge Brown - any other comments on levers for change?
Tiffini Smith RRH Case Manager
01:43:38
thank you so much for all the advocacy that you do for the people in your community!!
Amanda Woog
01:45:22
great last question!
Annika Little
01:45:40
that was great - I love the idea about the endorsement questions
Shenita Cleveland
01:45:55
Shoutout to Judge Brown! Great job!
Annika Little
01:51:22
Thanks everyone - please join us tomorrow. and don't be shy about sending us any thoughts or questions!
Shenita Cleveland
01:51:49
Unintended has an end. Intended stays around. It’s been a long time. JS
Dr. Lee
01:52:25
Thank you so much!!!
Alicia Torres
01:52:32
thank you!
JANET RIVERA
01:52:35
Thank you!