On January 5, 2021, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the law firm of Langer, Grogan & Diver P.C., and Seth Kreimer, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, filed a class action lawsuit against the Montgomery County court administration for illegally charging defendants duplicative court costs when they are convicted of more than one charge.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to the court in May of 2018, bringing the problem to the court’s attention and asking it to end the practice.
Instead of making our requested changes and following the letter of the law, the court doubled down by adopting an internal policy that explicitly allowed the practice to continue.
The practice has had a disproportionate impact on low-income defendants for whom even an extra few hundred dollars of court costs can represent an insurmountable financial barrier that takes years or decades to pay.
The case is filed on behalf of five individuals who have been charged these illegal costs. It requests an end to the practice and a halt to collection of the illegal costs already assessed. The suit could benefit thousands of defendants who have been overcharged by the Montgomery County court over the years.