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Missouri Supreme Court weighs issue of jail debt

February 7, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court is considering the legality of former inmates facing more jail time when they can’t pay back the cost of their room and board while behind bars.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the court considered the cases of former St. Clair and Lafayette county inmates Wednesday, but didn’t rule on either of them.

In the St. Clair County case, George Richey was arrested after failing to pay $3,150 for his 90-day jail stay, stemming from a misdemeanor conviction for violating a protective order. He then received an additional $2,275 bill after serving more time in jail.

Public defender Matthew Mueller argued that “board bills” shouldn’t be assessed as court costs, which carry the threat of more jail time. Attorneys for both counties defended the practice.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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