Task Force on Fair Justice for All

Justice for All
Report and Recommendations of the Task Force on Fair Justice for All: Court-Ordered Fines, Penalties,
Fees and Pretrial Release Policies

Our ideal of “justice for all” means that people should not be disparately punished because they are poor. While everyone should face consequences for violating the law, criminal fines and civil penalties should not themselves promote a cycle of poverty by imposing excessive amounts or unduly restricting people’s ability to be gainfully employed.

The Task Force on Fair Justice For All was established by Administrative Order No. 2016-16 to study and make recommendations as follows:

  • Recommend statutory changes, if needed, court rules, written policies, and processes and procedures for setting, collecting, and reducing or waiving court-imposed payments.
  • Develop suggested best practices for allowing citizens unable to pay the full amount of a sanction at the time of sentencing options for reasonable time payment plans or by the performance of community service.
  • Recommend best practices for making release decisions that protect the public, but do not keep people in jail solely for the inability to pay bail.
  • Review the practice of suspending driver’s licenses and consider alternatives to license suspension.
  • Recommend educational programs for judicial officers, including pro tem judges and court staff who are part of the pretrial decision making process.
  • Identify technological solutions and other best practices that provide defendant notifications of court dates and other court-ordered deadlines using mobile applications to reduce the number of defendants who fail to appear for court and to encourage citizens who receive a citation to come to court.