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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Michigan Supreme Court to hear dispute over court costs

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court soon will hear arguments in a dispute over whether convicts can be ordered to pay the operating costs of local courts.

Fred Cunningham is asking the Supreme Court to throw out a $1,000 bill that was part of his sentence for a drug crime in Allegan County, southwest of Grand Rapids.

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.

Cunningham's attorney, Anne Yantus, says costs must be limited to the specific expenses of a case - not overhead such as keeping the lights on or removing trash at the courthouse.

The Supreme Court hears arguments Thursday.