ACLU-PA submitted an amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to prevent courts from imposing unaffordable fines.
Court/Assoc.: Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Attorneys/Firms: Andrew Christy (ACLU-PA)
For the past 45 years, Pennsylvania courts have been prohibited from imposing fines that defendants cannot afford to pay, as a way to ensure that they are not saddled with unfordable court debt. But does this requirement apply if a defendant pleads guilty? The Lancaster County District Attorney seeks to upend decades of case law and say that the 96% of defendants who plead guilty must pay a fine regardless of their financial circumstances. The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed an amicus curiae brief to explain why it makes no sense to try to force a defendant to pay money he cannot afford, whether those are fines or court costs.