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Riverside Superior Court changed its civil assessments policy Oct. 5, after a joint letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Western Center on Law & Poverty claimed the policy violated the state and federal constitutions.

The court imposes civil assessments, a form of fees, on people charged with traffic, misdemeanor or felony offenses who don’t pay court ordered fines by due dates or who fail to appear.

Policy changes

The changed policy sets $300 as the upper limit of civil assessments, not the default amount of the assessment as before. It also gives respondents 20 days to show good cause for not appearing or

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