North Dakota: Interim Judiciary Committee looks at creating a “one fee” system for criminal convictions

The North Dakota Legislature’s interim Judiciary Committee meets yesterday (July 1). On the agenda were several items, including the question of court fees. During the 2013 the legislature considered SB 2078 which would have consolidated seven different fees imposed by courts in criminal cases into a single fee, the amount of which would vary based upon the grade of the offense. Concerns were voiced, however, over the consolidation of the check fee and victim witness fee into this new “one fee” system; such fees presently went to or remained with the locality.

Ultimately SB 2078 was turned into a request that these subjects be studied for the 2015 session.

During the 2013-14 interim, the legislative management shall consider studying the assessment of fees by courts, the feasibility and desirability of combining various court fees, and whether courts should be mandated to impose fees established by statute. The legislative management shall report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the sixty – fourth legislative assembly

One of the key elements to come out of the prior hearings in January 2014 and May 2014 was the victim witness fees that fund local victim witness program coordinators or can be used to fund local domestic violence programs. Two draft bills on the subject were discussed but not yet online.