Court Will Decide If Court Fees Are Taxes

Mar 13, 2018

Michigan Supreme Court Building - file photo
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

(MPRN-Lansing) The Michigan Supreme court will decide whether fees imposed on defendants by judges are taxes in disguise. Shawn Cameron Junior is fighting a $1,611 fee to cover the costs of prosecuting him for assault. 

Cameron says that’s a tax. And he says that violates the Michigan Constitution, which says only the Legislature can enact taxes. And Cameron says the Legislature cannot delegate that. He also says the law adopted by the Legislature doesn’t set clear standards for imposing court costs.

Lower courts have upheld the fees as constitutional. But this will be the first time the Michigan Supreme Court will weigh in on the question. The court will hold a hearing on the case later this year.