Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill Wednesday prohibiting cities from charging people legal fees to prosecute them.
The law comes less than a year after reporter Brett Kelman, then with the Desert Sun, investigated the practice that revealed Indio and Coachella had hired an outside law firm, Silver & Wright which prosecuted residents found in violation of municipal ordinances. The residents were then charged thousands in “prosecution fees.”
Last fall, I started writing a series on “prosecution fees,” a legal trick used in California cities that makes poor people pay a small fortune for tiny crimes. Today, because of my series, Gov. Jerry Brown made prosecution fees illegal. This is the power of local journalism. 1/
— Brett Kelman (@BrettKelman) September 5, 2018
The bill was authored by Assemblymember Chad Mayes, a Republican from Yucca Valley.
“I am a strong believer in local governance,” Mayes said, “but you got to put controls, not only on the governed but on those who govern. It’s absolutely appropriate for state government to put restraints on other governments so they can’t take life, liberty, or property away from folks.”
Read more at the Desert Sun.