Collaboration keeps it simple, improves collections process

A fine for speeding in Detroit and a right-turn-on-red ticket in Livonia can now be paid in a single court visit, thanks to a new collaboration by the 36th District Court and other district courts in Wayne County.

The program, called the Out County Collections Program, makes it more convenient for the public to take care of multiple traffic cases at the same time.

"Our goal is to make it as convenient as possible for people to pay what they owe to Detroit, whether they live in Detroit or in one of the surrounding communities," said Judge Michael Talbot, Special Judicial Administrator for the 36th District Court.

Additionally, the program is intended to improve collections.

The 36th District Court is owed about $279 million in unpaid court fines, fees, and costs, and has been collecting only 7.7 percent of what offenders owe, Talbot said. A May 2013 report by the National Center for State Courts found that "The current collections rates for the [36th District Court] are quite low compared to national averages."

The out-county courts will keep a portion of the funds they collect to reimburse them for their efforts; the balance will be forwarded to the court in Detroit, explained Deborah Green, Region I Administrator for the State Court Administrative Office.

"The city of Detroit, as the court's funding unit, will receive much-needed funds from improved court collections," said Green, who is working with Talbot at the 36th District Court.

"This program will help encourage citizens to handle their court matters more timely and completely," Tablot said. "The end result will be improved compliance with court orders, more convenient access to the justice system for the citizens, and more money coming into the city of Detroit. It's hard to argue with so many wins coming out of one program."

Published: Thu, Jul 18, 2013

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