Court Costs and Legal Fees

Despite the pandemic-triggered federal moratorium on residential evictions, evictions do still happen in certain cases here in the Tulsa area. Why? Our guest is Prof. Roni Amit, who's with the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic at the University of Tulsa College of Law. This clinic, per its website, "addresses access to justice for marginalized communities in Tulsa, with a particular focus on the intersection of legal needs within these communities.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa city councilors resumed work on policies that might close gaps identified in the city’s Equality Indicators reports with a deep dive into municipal court fines and fees.

Their discussion was part of a special council committee meeting on Wednesday. A rethinking of the entire fine structure is one possibility. Councilor Kara Joy McKee said set amounts are inherently inequitable.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing court fees, court fines, collection costs, and other court-related expenses, which, all told, make up somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the budget for the State of Oklahoma's court system. Therefore, and quite regrettably, our state's jails are by now brimming with people whose only "crime" is being unable to pay such costs.