COLUMBUS, Ohio — The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court is urging judges to avoid imposing excessive fines, fees or bail simply to raise money.
Republican Justice Maureen O’Connor says judges’ focus on the business side of courts sometimes comes at the expense of courts’ responsibility to provide justice.
O’Connor sent a letter Monday to more than 650 judges reminding them to follow constitutional standards of fairness, especially if fees create an undue burden on poor defendants.
O’Connor was responding to a U.S. Justice Department decision late last year to rescind Obama-era court guidance. That guidance noted the Constitution prohibits jailing people simply because they can’t afford to pay.
The ACLU of Ohio on Tuesday praised O’Connor for sending the letter.