SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The governing body for California’s court system Monday banned county courts from requiring people to pay traffic fines before they can contest their tickets.
The Judicial Council’s unanimous vote in favor of abolishing the practice comes as state officials have raised concerns that traffic fines and penalties are ensnaring minority and low-income residents. Fines have skyrocketed in California over the past two decades, and courts have grown reliant on fees as a result of budget cuts during the recession.
The Judicial Council’s decision takes effect immediately, and also requires courts to notify traffic defendants that they don’t have to make so-called bail payments in any instructions or other materials they provide to the public.
“I am proud of the rule that has been developed,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement. “This is an important first step to address an urgent access-to-justice issue.”… (more)