New Kentucky Supreme Court Opinion says "Kentucky Jails Cannot Charge You Jail Fees if Criminal Charges Dismissed"

The Kentucky Supreme Court decided David Jones versus Clark County, Kentucky and Frank Doyle, Case No. 2020-SC-0107-DG, on October 28, 2021.

"KRS1 441.265 outlines the required reimbursement of incarceration fees by a prisoner. In this case, David Jones (Jones), the Appellant, was presented with a bill for his incarceration fees after fourteen months in a county jail. Shortly after his release, Jones was cleared of all charges. We must decide whether, as the trial court ordered in its summary judgment, a county jail may both retain the monies collected from a prisoner and further bill the same prisoner for the cost of his confinement after the charges against him have been dropped. We hold that the trial court and Court of Appeals erred in their interpretation of KRS 441.265. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s summary judgment."

Jones was arrested, and during his incarceration in Clark County Detention Center in Kentucky, he racked up over $4,000 in fees. The charges against him were dismissed without prejudice. Since the charges were dismissed, the Kentucky Supreme Court said "Only the sentencing court is vested with the authority to order the payment of fees associated with incarceration of a prisoner in a county jail."

"Together KRS 441.265, 532.352, and 532.358 make it clear that the sentencing court is the only entity able to order the reimbursement and billing of incarceration fees, not the county jail."

What is also important is what the Court said about fees automatically deducted:

"We do not dispute the jail has the right to deduct fees from a prisoner’s canteen account if the funds become available. However, any funds automatically deducted by a county jail before an order from a sentencing court must be credited to the ordered reimbursement. If, as in this case, no order from a sentencing court exists or will ever exist, the automatically deducted fees must be returned to the former prisoner."

"In presenting the $4,008.85 bill to Jones upon his release and keeping the $256.44 automatically deducted from Jones’ canteen account after it became clear no order for reimbursement from a sentencing court would be issued, the CCDC violated the statute. As a result, the $256.44 automatically withdrawn from Jones’ canteen account and the $20 Jones paid toward the jail’s bill should be refunded to Jones."

So, make sure if you paid fees, or had fees automatically deducted, by or to a jail, and your charges were dismissed, then you may be owed those fees back.

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