Stephen Breyer

Supreme Court weighs the right to a refund for people who paid fines before they were freed

Supreme Court weighs the right to a refund for people who paid fines before they were freed

A UCLA law professor urged the Supreme Court on Monday to rule that the Constitution requires the government to refund fines and fees paid by people whose criminal convictions are reversed.

People who are freed “are entitled to get their money back,” Professor Stuart Banner told the court. It is, he said, a matter of common sense and long legal tradition. In his legal brief, he called it a “proposition almost too obvious to need stating.”

But it has not always been a winner in state courts.

Banner and UCLA’s Supreme Court Clinic appealed on behalf of Shannon Nelson, a Colorado woman who paid $702 in fees and restitution after she was convicted of abusing her...

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