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State v. Richey

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

March 19, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
GEORGE RICHEY, Appellant. and STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
JOHN B. WRIGHT, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ST. CLAIR COUNTY The Honorable Jerry Rellihan, Judge, The Honorable Kelly Rose, Judge

          MARY R. RUSSELL, JUDGE

         The issue to be decided in these two cases is whether a jail board bill may be taxed as "court costs" in criminal cases. In both cases, the circuit courts overruled motions to retax costs after each movant had his board bill taxed as costs against him by the circuit court. Because no statutory authority exists to treat jail board bills as court costs, the circuit courts' rulings are reversed and the cases are remanded.

         Background

         Richey

         George Richey pleaded guilty in April 2015 to violating an order of protection and was sentenced to 90 days in the St. Clair County jail with credit for time served. Upon his release from jail, the circuit court ordered him to pay the board bill, amounting to $3, 150. The circuit clerk prepared a fee report, itemizing the amounts charged to Richey, which included his board bill and various other smaller charges. In total, Richey was ordered to pay $3, 266.50 as court costs by December 31 of that year.

         Richey made no payments, and in January 2016, the circuit court issued an arrest warrant for "failure to obey [the] judge's order:" in essence, failure to pay the court costs. He was placed in custody in the county jail again with his bond set in the amount of the outstanding court costs. After Richey was released in April 2016, the circuit court taxed as court costs another board bill, this time for $2, 275, for the 65 days Richey served in jail on the January warrant. Richey's new court costs bill amounted to $5, 541.50:

1) LET-County

$2.00

2) Dom Viol-Crim/County Ordinance

$0.00

3) Inmate Pris Detainee Security

$2.00

4) Misdemeanor Costs w/SRF

$102.50

5) CVC-$10 Other

$10.00

6) Board Bill-Deft

$3, 150.00

7) Board Bill-Deft

$2, 275.00

         After his release, Richey was required to appear in court for "payment review hearings" approximately once a month. In total, Richey attended 18 "payment review hearings" before the circuit court from April 2016 to March 2018. Richey made payments totaling $1, 600 during those months, but as of May 2018, Richey still owed $10 for the "CVC" charge and $3, 931.50 for the two board bills.

         Richey filed a motion to retax costs in March 2018, arguing the circuit court had no statutory authority to tax his board bills as court costs. The circuit court overruled the motion. Richey appeals.

         Wright

         John Wright pleaded guilty in 2016 to stealing and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for time served. The circuit clerk prepared a fee report and taxed to Wright as court costs a jail board bill in the amount of $1, 358.28. The total amount taxed to Wright, including various other small charges, was $1, 501.78:

1) LET-County
$2.00
2) Dom Viol-Crim/County Ordinance
$2.00
3) Inmate Pris Detainee Security
$2.00
4) Misdemeanor Costs w/SRF
$102.50
5) CVC-$10 Other
$10.00
6) Board Bill-Deft
$1, 358.28
7) Time Payment Fee
$25.00

         After the judgment and fee schedule were entered in July 2016, the circuit court scheduled Wright's case for monthly show cause hearings to monitor his payments. By March 2018, Wright had appeared 13 times before the circuit ...


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