People v. DuenasAnnotate this Case
Court facilities and court operations assessments must be subject to an ability to pay determination. The Court of Appeal reversed the order imposing assessments under Government Code section 70373 and Penal Code section 1465.8, holding that, for those unable to pay, these assessments inflict additional punishment. In this case, defendant was an indigent and homeless mother of young children who pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license. The court agreed with defendant that imposing the fees and fine without considering her ability to pay violates state and federal constitutional guarantees because it simply punishes her for being poor. Therefore, the execution of the restitution fine must be stayed until and unless the People demonstrate that defendant has the ability to pay the fine.