Neal noted that most of the countys uncollected court costs accrue from repeat offenders who she said avoid paying the costs and repeatedly appear in court. If the law allowed clerks to focus on those individuals, Neal said she would completely support it.
If we could target people who just try to avoid paying the costs, it would be better, but we cant, Neal said.
She also pointed out the law presents an increase in workload and paperwork that she said her limited staff would be incapable of handling at this point in time.
A computer program in development by the Administrative Office of the Courts could help clerks track cases in order to suspend licenses, without a large increase in administrative paperwork.
Neal said individuals could avoid the suspension of their licenses either by paying within one year or being on a payment plan established by the court. She said the program in development would allow clerks to run reports on a minimum amount, which will be determined by the clerk.
I think a lot of clerks are waiting for the program to be finished, Neal said. It could be weeks or months, but these uncollected costs will still be there.
At this point, Neal said she uses collection agencies to find individuals owing money to the local court system. She said the new law could be a tool to scare people into paying their court costs, but could also become a vicious cycle for those without the means to pay.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.