Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lawsuit targets court costs, fees

A lawsuit refiled in McHenry County by local attorneys Ray Flavin, Matt Haiduk and James Kelly targets exorbitant court costs and fees that are tacked onto a judge's decision for a fine.

Read about it here, in the Northwest Herald article by reporter Katie Dahlstrom. She must have published that in honor of my birthday. Thanks, Katie. (But then she might not have known that those costs and fees have been the subject of rants on The Woodstock Advocate for years.

This should quickly become a class-action lawsuit.

You may have been lucky enough to avoid McHenry County Courts. But they are full every day with people who, upon hearing their name, line up, face the judge for 30 seconds, hear $50 Fine, and then learn at the Payment Window that the $50 Fine is really going to cost then $250-300.

A new procedure in the courtroom now is to print out the bill and present it to the traffic violator after the judge (or his clerk) scrawls a signature on it (or maybe uses a rubber stamp?), so the person can have the heart attack in the courtroom, rather than at the Payment Window.

If you think Katie should publish the Transaction for some poor guy (or gal) whose Fine was $25-50, but was forced to pay $250-300, send Katie an email at

 Click on the link in Katie's story to a second story by Chelsea McDougall on June 18, 2015. On Page 3 of that earlier online story is a summary, by county, of the "take" on top of the Fine. But that's only a summary, not a breakdown. See the breakdown for McHenry County; that's what will outrage you.


Big Daddy said...

As far as I know Gus, most counties do the same thing. But as a judge in Lake County once said, it's just another tax.

Gus said...

Right. One county starts it and gets away with it, and then they all jump on the train.

Sort of like the Vehicle Impoundment laws in a large number of cities and towns; for example, in McHenry County where one law firm provides advice to many of the cities. There is an extremely unfair provision within that law, but nobody takes up the challenge to force the cities to amend their ordinances.

Big Daddy said...

Not sure if you know about this but there is a multi million dollar law suit against Bull Valley for alleged biased ticket or nonsensical ticket writing.

Gus said...

Awww, you mean little ol' Bull Valley PD would do such a thing.

It's probably not PC to bash the late Chief of the BVPD, but I could barely restrain myself when he told me his officers didn't write speeding tickets to anyone for less than 10MPH over the posted limit.

Then there was the part-time officer who stopped pizza delivery drivers for speeding and "allowed" them to pay the fine on the spot, in cash (even though he didn't issue a ticket). Think he checked their green cards? NOT.