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Ohio high court offers judges fines, fees guidance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is reminding judges that conditions are limited under which they can jail an offender for failure to pay fines.

A brochure being distributed to all state judges follows a report last year that alleged several Ohio courts are illegally jailing people because they are too poor to pay their debts.

The report by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also found judges often deny defendants a hearing to determine if they're financially capable of paying what they owe.

Ohio law permits judges to jail people for refusing to pay fines only if they are financially able to pay and only after a hearing.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday she appreciated the ACLU raising the issue.

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