Jon Campisi Feb. 25, 2014, 6:44am


Pennsylvania’s judiciary distributed more than $455 million in court fees,

fines and restitution in 2013, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced late last week.

A bulk of the money went to the commonwealth, local governments and crime victims, while a small portion of the proceeds collected was sent to schools, libraries and tax agencies, as well as other entities.

A record $62 million in fees, fines, costs and restitution was collected last year through the PAePay system, which is an application allowing defendants to make payments via the Internet using debit or credit cards.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said that providing PAePay could allow defendants to avoid facing arrest, contempt of court proceedings, driver’s license suspensions and/or additional collection fees.

“The judiciary’s first priority is the fair and timely administration of justice, but after cases are adjudicated, it is important to enforce the collection of court-ordered fees, fines, costs and restitution,” Castille said in a statement. “We continue to enhance court collections by working closely with the local officials responsible for collecting the money and through the development of new technology such as PAePay.”

As for a monetary breakdown, the commonwealth received $207 million of the total $455 million collected by the court system, while counties received $156.7 million, and individual municipalities received $51.3 million that will go toward local government programs, according to the AOPC.

Additionally, $35.3 million in restitution went to victims of crimes and other various entities received $4.3 million.

Dollars given to local government programs and crime victims came from fees, fines, costs and restitution collected by 533 magisterial district courts across the commonwealth and the criminal divisions of the 67 Courts of Common Pleas, as well as Philadelphia Municipal Court.

The funds did not include money collected from Common Pleas Courts’ civil cases and traffic cases in Philadelphia.

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