Some judges think they can require the defendant to pay some or all of the jury fees (the money the county has to pay jurors to compensate them for their service), particularly as a condition of probation. This is incorrect, and your lawyer should fight it; these fees can amount to thousands of dollars.
There is no statutory basis for ordering a defendant to pay such fees. A trial court may not order a defendant to reimburse the county for a portion of jury fees as a term and condition of probation in the absence of statutory authority. State v. Payne, 223 Ariz. 555, 569, ¶ 48, 225 P.3d 1131, 1145 (App. 2009) (recognizing "[t]he American legal tradition . . . does not, absent specific statutory authority, require defendants to reimburse the government for the costs of their . . . criminal prosecutions" (quoting
United States v. Bevilacqua, 447 F.3d 124, 127 (1st Cir. 2006))).
Payne held that the trial court committed fundamental error by imposing prosecution fee pursuant to a county ordinance, because the county ordinance was statutorily unauthorized.
It is true that Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 11-584(B)(3) (Supp. 2009) permits the court to order a defendant to reimburse the county for the cost of court-appointed counsel. But this section does not expressly or impliedly grant the court authority to order the reimbursement of jury fees. See Assoc. Dairy Prods. Co. v. Page, 68 Ariz. 393, 395, 206 P.2d 1041, 1043 (1949) ("Implied powers do not exist independently of the grant of express powers and the only function of an implied power is to aid in carrying into effect a power expressly granted."). Not only is there no authority empowering the court to impose jury fees on a criminal defendant, the legislature has expressly provided that jury fees are "a county charge in criminal cases." A.R.S. § 21-122 (2002);
see also A.R.S. § 11-601(4) (Supp. 2009).
Judges, like all government officials, need to be watched carefully. This is especially true in the justice courts, where legal training is not required.
This is just one more reason why you need a hard fighting, straight talking Phoenix criminal defense attorney on your side. If you are facing serious criminal charges anywhere in the Phoenix area,
contact us right away for a free consultation.