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Court fees in Missouri to increase - KOAM TV 7

Court fees in Missouri to increase

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Court costs will soon increase in municipal courts across Missouri.  The Missouri Sheriff's Association is growing its financial program for retired sheriffs.  

"I know that sheriffs across the state will appreciate that," says Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser.

But Webb City's city manager is confused, and has an issue over the principle of the matter.

"We're not arguing it.  We're just saying its odd," says Webb City City Manager Carl Francis.

Defendants in state courts who plead guilty, or are found guilty, already fund Missouri's sheriff retirement program by paying court costs.  But Missouri's attorney general says defendants in municipal courts must also soon contribute, to the tune of three dollars more in court fees.

"It's strange that this ruling has been applied to municipal courts, since its county sheriff department's retirement funds."

The court costs in Webb City is $25.50.  This includes covering the cost of a prosecutor and judge, and training local police officers.  There's also a cost for paying local and state victim compensation programs.  Everything is itemized, and sometimes it can be difficult collecting what's itemized.

Francis says, "When they don't pay their fines, they get additional warrants issued.  It just becomes a bad cycle."

There's no indication the Missouri Sheriff's Association needs the extra money.  Sheriff Kaiser says, "It has good strength to it now.  So its not in trouble, or anything like that."

Missouri's attorney general says current legislation requires all courts to support the retirement program.  So the attorney general will enforce the legislation starting August 28th of next week.

"If we are told to collect it, we will collect it," says Francis.

But other cities besides Webb City are promising an appeal.

We left a message with a representative from the Missouri Sheriff's Association, based in Jefferson City.  We did not receive a call back.

 

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