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Defendant in traffic forfeiture case can’t seek costs against plaintiff

County of Milwaukee v. Shear Winston, 2013AP479, District 1, 1/28/14; court of appeals decision (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

Winston can’t get court costs against the county after his speeding citations were dismissed (¶¶2-5):

¶11      Wisconsin Stat. § 345.53 states: “[i]n traffic regulation actions in all courts, costs may not be taxed against the plaintiff.” The language of the statute is clear:  costs simply are not taxed against plaintiffs in traffic forfeitures. Although Winston contends that he is not literally “taxing” the County, the language of the statute does not suggest an actual taxation similar to property or income taxes. Rather, the statute clearly contemplates that costs cannot be imposed upon a plaintiff in traffic forfeiture. See County of Walworth v. Rohner, 108 Wis. 2d 713, 722, 324 N.W.2d 682 (1982) (trial court erred in conditioning the filing of a criminal traffic complaint on the district attorney’s willingness to pay costs in connection with the dismissal of the county’s action based on the language of § 345.53, which prohibits costs in traffic actions from being assessed against a plaintiff). …

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