Victim of 'Rogue' Officer Must Pay Court Costs

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A mother of four who a judge initially ruled was too poor to pay court costs after she lost a civil suit against the city of Chicago, must now find a way to pay up.

After an unprecedented appeal by Chicago to force the payment issue, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the city in November. And last month, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered Emily Rivera, who earns $16,320 a year and receives food stamps to help feed her family, to come up with $747 to reimburse the city for photocopies and transcripts, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Rivera must pay $20 a month for just more than three years.

Critics, including Rivera’s lawyer, say the city pursued the appeal as a deterrent to poor defendants considering a suit. But the city has responded that it merely wanted to clear up uncertainties about when losing plaintiffs owe court costs.

The underlying case involved claims Rivera brought against the city when a rogue off-duty police officer handcuffed her and ransacked her apartment in 2001, the paper reports. She won a default judgment against the officer in 2003, but lost the case against the city in 2005.

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