Revenue from CW Mayor’s Court fines has increased

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

If you do the crime in Canal Winchester, you are going to pay the fine in Canal Winchester.

Fine revenue from the city’s Mayor’s Court—which hears misdemeanor offenses—is on the rise in 2020.

City Finance Director Amanda Jackson said while it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why revenue has increased, the obvious answer would be an increase in offenses.
Year-to-date, through Nov. 18, there were 1,113 offenses and $106,469 in revenue. For the same period in 2019, there were 826 offenses. Last year ended with 938 offenses and $92,405 in revenue. Jackson noted the number of offenses does not equal the number of tickets written because a ticket can contain more than one offense.

“Another factor could simply be timing,” said Jackson. “We offer payment plans for those who need time to pay which can delay payment on a case. These are probably the biggest reasons for any increase from year to year.”

The five-year average between 2015 and 2019 was $108,007 in Mayor’s Court revenue.

“The year to date amount represents money collected,” said Jackson. “If a fine is not paid, the result will vary depending on the charge. For example, an unpaid fine on a theft charge could result in an arrest warrant being issued, while an unpaid traffic ticket could result in a block being placed on your license and vehicle registration. You would not be able to renew either of those until you cleared up your unpaid fine with us.”

Mayor’s Court hears misdemeanor offenses that occur within the city’s corporation limits and the court clerk is responsible for collecting fines and fees—set by city ordinance—and maintenance of traffic and criminal citations issued by Fairfield County sheriff’s deputies.

It is currently held at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St., to allow for social distancing on the first and third Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. A magistrate presides over the court at $150 per session. Amounts received vary from month to month and case by case depending on the charge and fine assessed.

When defendants arrive at court, they are asked to sign a basic rights form which lets the city prosecutor and magistrate a defendant is in attendance. Defendants are given the opportunity to discuss their case with the city prosecutor prior to appearing before the magistrate, who sees defendants on a first-come, first-serve basis.

While the majority of Mayor’s Court revenue goes into the general fund, a certain amount is deposited into each of two court tech funds.

“The money placed in the tech funds can only be used for specific purposes related to computerization of the court system,” said Jackson. “Funds are also dispersed to the Franklin and Fairfield municipal courts based on the location of the offense and the state, as required by law.”

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