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New Law Makes It Harder For NC Judges To Waive Court Fees

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson
/
US Airforce Photo
A new law that took effect last week makes it more difficult for judges to waive fines and fees for people who cannot afford to pay them.

A new law that took effect last week makes it more difficult for judges to waive fines and fees for people who cannot afford to pay them. Now a judge must issue a 15-day notice to all agencies involved before granting  a waiver. Critics argue this will cause a logistical backlog for the courts and ultimately result in more low-income people going to jail. Proponents say the courts rely on these fees, and the new law will help generate revenue. This law was not directly sponsored by any member of the General Assembly, so it is difficult to distinguish its political supporters. Host Frank Stasio talks with Joe Neff, reporter for The Marshall Project, about the issue.

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Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.