City considers court fee hike

Plan on going to court?

It could cost between $5 and $25 more to file some documents in both district and justice courts if Carson City supervisors decide on a fee hike Thursday. The funds from the increase will support a program providing free legal services to people with low incomes and victims of domestic violence.

The Legislature last year passed Assembly Bill 239, which allows a $5 fee on top of answer or appearance fees when filing in district or justice court as well as a $25 fee to modify or adjust final district court orders.

Volunteer Attorney's for Rural Nevadans, based in Carson City, provided free legal service to 56 rural Nevadans last year, most in Carson City, said Odessa Ramirez, program coordinator. The nonprofit organization pulls from a panel of 100 volunteer attorney's to provide services in civil cases to those living under the federal poverty level as well as those suffering from domestic abuse.

"We need to provide (legal services) for these people," Judge Michael Griffin said.

Ramirez said the group helps people with cases from divorces and bankruptcies to wills and guardianships. The Soroptimists had, until last year, a legal fee program for domestic violence victims, but the demand grew greater than the group could support, Ramirez said. The volunteer attorney's handle the program now, and have already helped 20 domestic violence victims.

The nonprofit program runs on a $200,000-a-year budget. Funds help pay travel costs to rural areas and training as well as to retain an in-house attorney. Douglas County also passed an ordinance to increase filing fees to support the program.

No estimates were available for how much the fee increase in Carson City or Douglas County,would garner for the organization.

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 8:30 a.m., Thursday

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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