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Juvenile Code Doesn’t Allow a Pre-determined Flat Rate Probation Fee

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2018

Michigan Court of Appeals, in People v Killich, No. 329941, held that the Juvenile Code doesn’t allow for the imposition of a flat rate probation supervision fee, and vacated the trial court order imposing the fee and remanded for a corrected order of disposition.

FACTS: 

               Respondent Taylor Killich, a juvenile, pled no contest to a juvenile petition and was placed on probation for three months. She accepted the disposition ordered by the referee, but her attorney objected to the $100 probation supervision fee, citing People v Juntikka, 310 Mich App 306; 871 NW2d 555 (2015). The argument was rejected and she requested a review hearing before the trial court.

               At the review hearing, defense counsel argued that the court did not have statutory authority under the Juvenile Code to impose a pre-determined flat rate fee and that the Juvenile Code only permitted the court to be reimbursed for individualized costs of probation supervision services extended to individual juveniles.

               Petitioner argued that three statutory provisions allowed for the imposition of a probation supervision fee: 1) MCL 712A.18(1)(b), 2) MCL 712A.18(3), and 3) MCL 712A.18(12). The trial court upheld the fee.

 

Opinion:

               While the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that local units of government share the costs for juvenile adjudication and supervision, it disagreed with the imposition of the $100 probation supervision fee, vacating and remanding the matter back to the trial court.

 

The court said:

  • Petitioner first contended the $100 probation supervision fee is authorized by MCL 712A.18(1)(b). The court disagreed. The language of the statute authorizes the court to order a juvenile to pay the state minimum state cost of not less than $68.00 for a felony. Thus, Killich must pay $68 but the law doesn’t authorize the $100 fee.
  • Petitioner next contends that the $100 probation supervision fee is authorized by MCL 712A.18(12). The court disagreed. The statute states that the court “shall order” a juvenile to pay an assessment fee if an order of disposition is entered. And, MCL 780.905 (3) authorizes a fee of $25.00.
  • Lastly, petitioner contends that the $100 probation supervision fee is authorized by MCL 712A.18(3). Again, the court disagreed. While the statute allows a court to impose a reimbursement provision before it has incurred any expense, whether it authorizes flat rate assessments is a different question. Because the fee doesn’t qualify as reimbursement for the “cost of service” for a particular juvenile, it isn’t authorized by the statute.

               The court, stating that there was no evidence on the record to conclude that the $100 fee is either more or less than the cost of service, vacated the trial court decision and remanded the case for entry of a corrected order of disposition.

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