Thursday, April 15, 2010

Court Costs - Part 1

As anyone who has been to court recently knows, you really get clobbered with court costs and fees after the judge gets done with you. Remember the story about the driver who didn't signal his turn in Woodstock in March. His $40 fine mounted up to a total of $187 by the time he walked back to his car in the parking lot!

Some of the McHenry County Court judges will warn you ahead of time not to get mad at the cashiers and not to take your anger out on them. The judges set the fines, but the State Legislature (go see Jack Franks) and the County Board (go see your elected County Board members from your District) set the costs that are really going to run up your visit to the courthouse and suck money out of your pocket that will never reach your community.

Take, for example, the line item of Court Security Fees. Who knows what really is in that category, but a good guess, for starters, might be the guards who admit you through the front and back doors of the building and maybe even the bailiffs (now called court security officers).

In the 12-month period ending November 2009, you (well, you who paid fines and court costs) parted with $903,955 for Court Security Fees.

Now that's a chunk of money. One might guess it buys those 2-3 men and women who staff the back door and the 5-6 who guard the front door and a guard in each of the courtrooms. How many are there and how much do they actually earn?

One reader wrote a while back that the head of courtroom security now pulls down $100K/year. You're kidding; right?

How much did the guilty "visitors" to the courthouse cough up in a 12-month period ending November 2009? Over $50,000,000. That's over FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS.

And that doesn't include the $10,000,000 income to the County for the immigration-wing "hotel" over in the other end of the building!


David J. Bachmann said...

Gus, don't forget about a trip to Florida including expensive meals for the head of courtroom security?

Sheriff's convention!

Naples ocean front hotel, and meal receipts from Nygren.

I wonder if that is a 'tax free' benefit?

M.U.G. said...

What I want to know is how do all these entities con the court into tacking on fee's on their behalf?

$10.00 Mental Health Court fee
$13.00 Child Advocacy Center
$10.00 PTF10 TR/CR surcharge
$ 4.00 Violent Crime Assistance Fund

joe said...

Gus,Gus,Gus.. There you go again, Did you check any of the statements you made to verify they were fact. Sorry I forgot you seldom do that, you just throw things in the wind to get a rise out of your followers. The head of security makes nowhere near what you stated as fact. I bet he wishes he did. Also, 50 million in revenue.. You really are misinformed. I think the entire budget for the sheriffs department is only 30 mil.. If you want to be taken seriously, get the facts before you print them instead of all the innuendo

Frank said...

I'm glad all the illegal immigrants housed in the immigration wing and the guilty parties who visit the court house could pay this money so I, the law abidding citizen didn't have his taxes go up!

Anonymous said...

And YOU as Tin Star will do away with all these junk fees?
Yea right. Doh.

Gus said...

M.U.G., you can express your "appreciation" for those, and other, court costs to the McHenry County Board and the Illinois State legislature. Please do.

Gus said...

joe, the $50,000,000 figure came from Clerk of the Circuit Court Katherine Keefe. It's information that is public record, but it must be requested. It's probably in routine reports filed somewhere, if you know where to look.

Gus said...

Frank, you may find that the illegal immigrants housed in the detention wing don't pay any of those court costs. The Federal Government, however, forks over $90.00/day to the Nygren hotel for each one. Where do you think that money comes from?

Gus said...

TMB, no; but you the voter can do away with some of them and reduce others. It will take many, many voices, combined into one loud, ongoing SHOUT, to get the attention of the County Board and the State legislature.

RetiredPeace Officer said...

The Chief of Court Security makes nearly $80,000 a year. Plus his pension from CLPD. If you consider his health insurance, he makes way over $100,000. He has been gone for awhile on medical leave.

Another Lawyer said...

The budget for the Sheriff's Dept. has nothing to do with how much they raise with court costs.

Although I haven't run the numbers for sometime ... I also question the $50,000,000 number.

Which court costs are you adding together to get that ... it can't be just the court security fees over one year.

Gus said...

I received 7 1/2 pages of itemized fees. These are pass-through expenses; the Circuit Clerk is merely the collector.

Upon closer examination of the 7 1/2 pages, the "court costs and fees" may be less than $50,000,000. I'll be providing more detail in future articles.