No objection to waiving court fees for low-income defendants, Cook County state’s attorney says

Fines and fees are used to help fund the court system, but the office said “a disproportionate amount of its financing is shouldered by people of color and those living in poverty.”

SHARE No objection to waiving court fees for low-income defendants, Cook County state’s attorney says
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The Cook County state’s attorney’s office announced Tuesday it will no longer object to waiving court fees for low-income defendants, a move it said was aimed at reducing racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“One of the tragedies of the criminal justice system is that a disproportionate amount of its financing is shouldered by people of color and those living in poverty,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement. “Rather than end the cycles of racial disparities and criminalization, fees and fines perpetuate them.”

Fines and fees are used to cover court expenses.

The office said the new policy was in line with other measures it has taken, including not prosecuting cases involving driving with a suspended license or possessing small amounts of narcotics and expunging cannabis convictions.

“These financial burdens too often exacerbate poverty,” First Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said in a statement.

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