SCOTUS Takes Up Colo. |Court Fee Refund Case

     (CN) – The Supreme Court will decide whether people convicted of crimes but later exonerated can get a refund of their court fees and other costs stemming from their cases.
     The case, Shannon Nelson v. Colorado, challenges a state requirement that criminal defendants prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that they are in fact innocent after a reversal of their conviction, before they can get their money back.
     The petition for a writ of petition for a writ of certiorari questions whether this requirement violates the defendant’s due process rights.
     The lead plaintiff in the case, Shannon Nelson, was assessed $8,192 in processing charges and restitution costs after being convicted on sexual assault charges; a second plaintiff, Louis Alonzo Madden, was assessed $4,413 in court costs and restitution on similar charges.
     Both ultimately had their convictions thrown out on appeal, but a trial court declined to reimburse the money.
     A Colorado appeals court said state law required a full refund.
     But the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that costs could be returned only if they proved their innocence by clear and convincing evidence.

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