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NCJ Number: 64484 Find in a Library
Title: SHOULD THE CONVICTED INDIVIDUAL PAY CRIMINAL COURT COST? A STUDY ON THE REALITY OF COST LAW
Journal: BEWAEHRUNGSHILFE  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(1979)  Pages:252-265
Author(s): M VOSSHANS; W PAUL
Corporate Author: Deutsche Bewahrungshilfe
Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 11b
West Germany (Former)
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST HAVING THE CONVICT BEAR THE COURT COSTS ARE PRESENTED AND THEN REFUTED BY AN EMPIRICAL STUDY FROM WEST GERMANY.
Abstract: THE PRINCIPLE OF HAVING INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF OFFENSES BEAR THE COST OF THE TRIAL IS FIRMLY ESTABLISHED IN WEST GERMAN COURT PROCEDURE, YET IT HAS RECENTLY BEEN CRITICIZED. THE ARGUMENT THAT THE OFFENDER SHOULD PAY THE FEES SINCE HE INITIALLY CAUSED THEM HAS BEEN DISPUTED BY LEGAL EXPERTS ON THE GROUNDS THAT OTHER CAUSES FOR THE COST EXIST WHICH CANNOT BE CONTROLLED BY THE OFFENDER (E.G., THE REPORTING OF THE OFFENSE, THE ACCUSATION, THE TRIAL ITSELF). ADDING TO THE CHARGES OF UNCONSTITUTIONALITY, FINANCIAL EXPERTS CLAIM THAT THE SUM PAID BY THE OFFENDER COVERS ONLY A SMALL FRACTION OF THE ACTUAL COURT COST AND IS PARTLY OFFSET BY THE EXPENSE IN COLLECTING THE MONEY. TO TEST THE VALIDITY OF THESE ARGUMENTS, RESEARCHERS ANALYZED AN UNSPECIFIED NUMBER OF 1975 AND 1976 COURT RECORDS AND INTERVIEWED WEST GERMAN JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, COLLECTORS, AND ASSESSORS. IN SPITE OF THE LIMITED NUMBER OF CASES STUDIED AND DIFFICULTIES IN DETERMINING THE ACTUAL COST, THE ARGUMENTS FOR ABOLISHING INDIVIDUAL PAYMENT OF COURT COSTS DID NOT HOLD. IT WAS FOUND, IN FACT, THAT THE FEES PAID BY THE CONVICTED PARTY COVERED A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT (THOUGH NOT ALL) OF THE OVERALL COURT COSTS. THE EXPENSE OF COLLECTING THE FEES WAS NEGLIGIBLE. HOWEVER, IN SOME CASES, THE COURT PAYMENT PLACED AN UNDUE FINANCIAL BURDEN ON THE CONVICT: IN SUCH CASES THE COURT SHOULD HAVE THE POWER TO FREE THE OFFENDER FROM THE OBLIGATION. IN VIEW OF THE OVERALL AMOUNT OF THE STATE'S LOSS, THIS ADDITIONAL SUM WOULD HARDLY HAVE ANY IMPACT. THE ARTICLE CONTAINS STATISTICAL CHARTS AND FOOTNOTES. --IN GERMAN. (SAJ)
Index Term(s): Cost analysis; Court costs; Germany; Offenders; State aid
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64484

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