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Governor Whitmer extends court costs policy

Courts in Michigan could continue requiring defendants found guilty of a crime to pay the costs of their trial for another year and a half.

That funding mechanism for local courts was set to expire, but the governor recently signed an extension of the policy.

The Michigan Municipal League supported the law during the committee process.

Legislative associate Herasanna Richards says her group would like to see more permanent funding, though the issue is complicated.

"Our funding system is a little disjointed, rather than having a centralized model in which the state would aggregate all the funding, distribute it as needed to different areas of the state based on operational needs that they have, many of the district courts are responsible for funding that on their own." said Richards.

Opponents are challenging the policy in court, arguing it prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial since some court funding is contingent on a guilty plea or verdict.