Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 479 -
Attorney General Smith Troy


Costs may not be deducted from bail forfeitures under the 1949 Fisheries Code.

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                                                                  March 22, 1951

Mr. Robert J. Schoettler
Director of Fisheries
1308 Smith Tower
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 479

Dear Sir:

            You request our opinion upon:

            Whether court costs may be deducted from amounts collected from forfeitures of bail under Fisheries Code violations before such funds are remitted to the State Treasurer.

            Our answer is that they may not.


            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 5780-223 (1949 Supp.) provides:

            "* * *all bail moneys forfeited * * * shall be paid into the State Treasury general fund."  (Emphasis supplied).

            Moneys collected as fines are specifically divided between the county and state.  This office has twice ruled that the county has no authority to retain fifty per cent of bail forfeitures under the Fisheries Code.

            We refer you again to our opinion of November 25, 1949, to which we adhere and which at page 3 states:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "5. May court costs be extracted by the county from bail forfeitures?

            "We again refer you to our opinion of August 24, 1949, and to the answer to the third question herein.  In such answer we held that the county had no statutory authorization to retain 50% of the bail forfeiture under section 25, supra.  Since they have no rights whatever to bail forfeitures other than to remit the same to the state treasurer, we cannot see how they would have any right to retain any portion of such monies on the theory that such monies are 'court costs.'  The answer to your fifth question is, 'no.'"

            Our opinion of October 5, 1950, relates only to the general deduction of court costs from bail forfeitures before allocation to certain county funds.  That opinion specifically refers to situations where the disposition of bail forfeitures

            "* * * have not been specifically allocated to any other purpose."  (Page 2, citing Rem. Rev. Stat. § 5634-1, 1945 Supp.).

            Bail forfeitures under the Fisheries Code have been "specifically allocated" to another purpose.  Our opinion of October 5, 1950, is therefor not applicable to bail forfeitures under the Fisheries Code.

            We enclose copies of our opinions of August 24, 1949, November 25, 1949 [[Opinion No. 49-51-168]], and October 5, 1950 [[Opinion No. 49-51-361]], for your perusal.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General