Report: Trial court funding system is “broken,” says revenue shouldn’t matter in judges’ rulings | Michigan Radio
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Report: Trial court funding system is “broken,” says revenue shouldn’t matter in judges’ rulings

Apr 8, 2019

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's trial court funding system is "broken." That's according to a study released Monday by the Michigan Trial Court Funding Commission.

Tom Boyd is chair of the Commission. He told Stateside that trial court judges are responsible for raising money to operate the courts, and it often influences their rulings.

“It isn't to say that criminals who can afford to pay fines shouldn't pay fines. We're not saying that at all,” Boyd said. “The question is should there be a connection between the amount of money that comes into a court and the amount of money available to run the court?”

Boyd says the result of this “broken” system is that people within the community feel the courts are out for money more than justice.

“And our report suggests that the community isn't wrong when they conclude the court is more focused on revenue as opposed to simply a just outcome in each case,” he said.

Boyd says solutions to the problem could include a uniform assessment of fees for all defendants and centralizing collections of fines and fees.

You can hear Tom Boyd’s full conversation with Stateside above.