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Proposal would curb mandatory court fees for poor defendants

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou would abolish mandatory surcharges, which can amount to hundreds of dollars.
Credit: Getty Images

ALBANY, N.Y. — Two New York lawmakers have submitted legislation to curb mandatory court fees they say are unfair to the poor. 

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou would abolish mandatory surcharges, which can amount to hundreds of dollars. 

The fees are attached to every conviction, including traffic tickets. Judges used to be able to waive or reduce those surcharges, but the Legislature stripped them of that power starting in 1995. 

The president of a statewide association representing town justices said it could be difficult for courts without a big staff to figure out whether someone can afford fines and fees.