Appeals court: Schools can sue NC over court fines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Appeals court: Schools can sue NC over court fines

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that a county school system can sue the state over control of court fines imposed through a new law.

A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday the Richmond County Board of Education does have standing to sue state office holders that typically have immunity from lawsuits.

North Carolina lawmakers in 2011 created a $50 fine for traffic violations resulting in a conviction for improper equipment. Under the law, the money collected statewide is funneled to the state treasury to pay for services that reduce county jail populations.

Lawyers for the Richmond schools sued last year, claiming the new law violates language in the state Constitution that says court fines must be spent to benefit public education in the county where the fines are collected.