Trial court funding is ‘broken’

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A commission says the way Michigan trial courts are funded is “broken” and should be overhauled with a new model in which the state shares more of the cost.
The Trial Court Funding Commission, created under a 2017 law, released its interim report Monday. The recommendations are designed to address how judges depend on money from defendants convicted of crimes to cover court operating expenses.
Under one recommendation, the state would establish a fund for receipt of all trial court assessments and state general funds, and distribute the revenue to local courts based on caseloads. Court employees would become state employees, and the state would fund technology needs.
The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether court costs ordered by judges are an illegal tax against offenders.