The collection effort of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania was initiated after the FJD's assumption of the duties and functions of the previously independently elected Clerk of Quarter Sessions which was abolished by City Council in 2010. The Court established the Office of Court Compliance, funded by the City of Philadelphia, to lead the charge in the collection of outstanding court mandated fees, fines, court costs and restitution as well as bail judgments. The collection of this money benefits the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and victims of crimes both directly, thought the collection of court ordered restitution, as well as indirectly through the collection of funds which are distributed to various governmental entities as provided by law. Upon assumption of the duties and functions of the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, the FJD has utilized the statewide Common Pleas Case Management System ("CPCMS") to inform defendants about their financial obligations, establish payment plans, record payments made, and to refer cases to private collection agencies upon default of payment plans and failure to attend payment plan conferences or otherwise respond to request for payment of their court ordered obligations.
The description below highlights the process followed by the First Judicial District.
Immediately after sentencing, FJD Compliance Officers meet with defendants to establish an appropriate payment plan for the payment of fees, fines, court costs and restitution consistent with the sentencing judge's order. Compliance Officers also hold conferences when defendants seek reduction of their monthly payment due to a change in financial circumstances, and conduct delinquency conferences when defendants fail to make their monthly installment payments. When appropriate, the monthly amount may be decreased if the defendant demonstrates (upon presenting the necessary information) reduced income or inability to pay the currently established installment amount.
Finally, the FJD refers cases to private collection agencies when defendants fail to pay their outstanding fees, fines, court costs and restitution, fail to appear for scheduled payment plan conferences, or fail to update their addresses with the court as required. Referral is always preceded by a notice requesting the defendant to contact the Office of Court Compliance to pay or make arrangements to pay their outstanding obligations. Upon referral to a collection agency, the collection defendant must pay a 25% collection fee, as allowed by law. Upon referral, the collection agency is responsible for collecting the outstanding fees, fines, costs and restitution and all payments must be made to the collection agency.
Bail Forfeiture and Bail Judgments are systematically entered after a defendant who is released on bail and who signed a bail bond fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing. The Bail Bond signed by the defendant requires appearance at every court hearing and cautions that a judgment will be entered for the full amount of the bail if the defendant fails to appear for a court hearing. The bail judgment may be vacated if the defendant can show that the failure to appear for the hearing was not voluntary (e.g., because of the defendant's incarceration on the date of the hearing for which defendant failed to appear) or reduced if "justice does not require the full enforcement of the forfeiture order." To seek vacation or reduction of the bail judgment, the defendant must file a motion which will be initially decided upon a review of the case file but the defendant may also request a hearing and judicial review. By order issued on September 30, 2014 by the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, further collection bail judgments issued before March 3, 2010 ceased and the balance as of that date will not be collected. Bail judgments issued after March 4, 2010 are being recorded in the Banner case management system and as soon as that is accomplished, all further collection of bail judgments issued after March 4, 2010 will be undertaken by the City of Philadelphia.
The goals of the FJD collection effort are to foster respect for court orders, to insure that those defendants who have the financial ability to pay court imposed financial obligations do so, and to provide a forum to enable those who are unable to pay to seek reduction of their monthly installment payment or deferral of their payment obligation.
The links below provide more detailed information and forms related to the FJD collection effort.
PAYMENTS FOR BAIL JUDGMENTS
Bail Judgment payments cannot be made through ePay (http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/ePay/).
Bail Judgment Payments can be made by mail or in person as follows:
First Judicial District Accounting Department, P.O. Box 37711, Philadelphia, Pa 19101-5011
Checks and Money Orders, Payable to "First Judicial District of PA"). Do not mail cash
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
The Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert Street (Basement), Philadelphia, PA 19107; OR
Accounting Unit, 1401Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Cash, Credit/Debit Card, Checks and Money Orders Payable to "First Judicial District of PA."