Friday, March 03, 2006

I can't afford to be charged with a crime?

I am moving one of Mark Dinkel's comments into a main blog entry. I would like to see this blog be a forum for different ideas. If you have any ideas, don't hesitate to e-mail them to me.
At the trial level, I will begin focus on the constitutionality of K.S.A. 22-4529. This is the statute that began the $50 BIDS fee in 1997 and then quickly doubled it to $100 by 2001. The statute provides that "(a)ny defendant ENTITLED (my emphasis) to counsel . . . shall pay an application fee . . . ." In a number of counties, including Saline, the defendant ENTITLED to counsel is often required to pay a $100 fee prior to bonding from jail. In other words, if you exercise the FUNDAMENTAL constitutional right to counsel (see Gideon v. Wainwright) you may be sacrificing your constitutional right to bail and your pretrial freedom. The more I think about it, the more this fee reminds me of the poll tax declared to be a violation of the equal protection clause in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections. However, unlike the poll tax application to everyone seeking to cast a vote, the 22-4529 fee applies only to those claiming poverty.
In a similar vein, Shawn Minihan is currently litigating an issue with regard to ordering BIDS reimbursement of attorney fees and costs. In State v. Robinson, a divided CoA held that such reimbursement can be ordered without considering ability to pay. The KSC took that case on review and Shawn argued it last docket. So keep an eye out on that issue as well.

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