I obviously cannot speak for other judges, but . . .
The Michigan Supreme Court is requiring an increased effort to collect monies owed in criminal cases, leading to the question what are allowable court costs in a criminal case.
According to a Memorandum from the State Court Administrator Office, costs are limited to expenses specifically incurred in prosecuting the defendant, providing legal assistance to the defendant, and (in probation cases) supervising the probationer. For costs to be assessed, the costs must bear some direct relation to actual costs incurred in prosecution, and cannot include the costs of the day-to-day functions of the prosecutor, law enforcement, or other governmental unit, even if the functions resulted in arrest and prosecution. People v Barber, 14 Mich App 395 (1968), Saginaw Public Libraries v Judges of the 70th District Court, 118 Mich App 379 (1982). It would thereby seem that costs can be assessed in a criminal case, as follows:
- State cost; crime victim rights fee.
- The expenses of providing legal assistance to the defendant.
- Any assessment authorized by law.
- Any costs incurred in compelling the defendant’s appearance.
- Costs of emergency response and prosecution.
- As a condition of probation. If the court requires the probationer to pay costs under MCL 771.3(2), the costs must be limited to expenses specifically incurred in prosecuting the defendant or providing legal assistance to the defendant and supervision of the probationer.
- MCL 769.1k allows the court to impose any cost in addition to the minimum state cost.
Statutory allowed costs:
State Costs ($68.00); Crime Victim Rights fee ($130.00); Prosecutor’s OWI fee; Probation Oversight fee.
Additional possible costs:
Attorney fees; witness subpoenas; Cost to supply discovery. (e.g. copy cost, postage); Cost of transcript(s) requested by the defense; Cost for drug test; Actual or estimated cost bearing some direct relation to the actual costs incurred in compelling defendant’s appearance. (e.g. writs, extradition); Actual or estimated cost bearing some direct relation to the actual cost related to an adjournment caused by the defendant; Actual or estimated cost bearing some direct relation to the actual cost caused by the defendant over and above the already existing day-to-day cost for the prosecutor.
What then does this mean?
Procedure for Additional possible costs in my courtroom:
A. Defense expert witness fees will be ordered and added by the court to the amount owed when the bill is received and approved by the court.
B. The People will be responsible for submitting any request at the time of sentencing for costs for prosecution, to-wit: witness subpoenas; cost to supply discovery; adjournment related costs; actual or estimated cost bearing some direct relation to the actual cost for transportation, extradition; and any additional actual or estimated cost bearing some direct relation to the actual cost caused by the defendant over and above the already existing day-to-day cost for the prosecutor. In the absence of any request for actual costs, the cost for an adjournment caused solely by the defense will be $100.00; the costs of transportation from another county will be $100.00.
C. Probation will be responsible for reporting in the PSI the cost of any Preliminary Exam transcripts requested by the defense; drug tests; attorney fees. In the absence of a request for actual costs, the cost for Attorney fees continues to be $400 for a plea, $1,000 for one day of trial, $500 per day thereafter; cost for drug tests is $25.