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Courthouse Security Fees In Chesterfield County Could Double This Summer

old courthouse
The old Courthouse doesn't see much action anymore. The updated courthouse sits less than a mile away. The county is proposing to double the fee for convicted criminal defendants. The fee help cover security costs the sheriff's department incurs. (Photo: Ian Stewart/VPM News)

A new law taking effect July 1 allows local governments to increase courthouse security fees from $10 to $20 for defendants convicted in criminal or traffic cases. 

That money goes toward costs incurred by sheriff departments who handle security duties at both district or circuit courts. In Chesterfield County, there’s also an additional $25 processing fee. 

Fees

Next month, the county board of supervisors will ask the residents if they think the fees should go up.  

County officials say that $10 fee brings in $400,000 annually. If the increase is approved, that amount would double.

In an email response to VPM, Sheriff Karl Leonard said:

"We have sought this increase for several years now to help us with revamping our courthouse security needs. Although the Chesterfield County General District Court, Circuit Court, and Juvenile Court buildings are aesthetically  well designed they were all constructed prior to the events of 9/11 and security was not the primary concern during the building design phase. Trying to retrofit courthouses such as ours  to have security where it needs to be to meet today’s challenges is not only challenging but also costly. We have had a 4-year project to make major changes to our main entrances but have been unable to secure the funding needed. This increase of the Courthouse Security Fees will help us achieve that."

 A public hearing on the Chesterfield County courthouse fees is set for June 27.