Pennsylvania courts collected more than $462 million in fees, fines, costs and restitution in 2014, $7 million more than the previous year, Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin announced Monday.
Most of the money collected is sent to the state, local governments and victims of crime; a small portion of the money collected is sent to various entities such as schools, libraries and tax agencies.
“Ensuring the fair and timely administration of justice is the judiciary’s first priority; however, we recognize that various organizations, governments and Pennsylvanians depend on the money flowing back into their operations and communities,” said Justice Eakin. “Although the courts are not collection agencies, we continually look for ways to improve collection rates by working closely with local officials and enhancing technology such as PAePay, our online payment technology.”
PAePay allows people to conveniently make payments via the Internet with a debit or credit card. A record $77 million in court fees, fines, costs and restitution was collected through PAePay in 2014.
In addition, the judiciary’s computer systems provide several other features to improve collections, including:
— generating customized court payment delinquency letters;
— sharing information with PennDOT for suspension of the driver’s licenses of defendants failing to pay court costs related to traffic violations; and
— providing defendant case financial data to outside collection agencies, which are currently used by 38 counties.
The state received $220.9 million of the total $462 million collected by the courts. Counties received $153.4 million and municipalities $48.8 million to support local government programs. Crime victims received a total of $35.1 million in restitution, and various entities received $3.8 million.
The money distributed to support government programs and crime victims came from fees, fines, costs and restitution collected by 523 magisterial district courts and the criminal divisions of the 67 Common Pleas Courts and Philadelphia Municipal Court.For more information, visit the PA Courts Dashboard - Financial Data webpage.