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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Marion County reduces incarceration fees from $19,000 to $4,250 for man dying of cancer

Marion County Commissioners gave an 80% reduction in incarceration fees to an elderly man that told the commission he had four months to live.

Frank Rode, a 75-year-old Ocklawaha resident who receives Social Security payments, made the request during the commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday, June 1.

“Over a year ago, I found out I had cancer,” said Rode, who provided a letter from Kindred Hospice. According to the organization, Rode was admitted into hospice care in April with multiple forms of cancer and “has a life expectancy of 6 months or less.”

Rode, who was charged with a DUI nearly ten years ago, asked that the lien be reduced to $10,000 or less so that it didn’t pose a burden to his family after his death.

The total judgement for $19,784.45 included $13,500 in incarceration costs and over $6,200 in accrued interest. In civil restitution lien orders, interest accrues from the time of judgement at a rate determined by the court. In Rode’s case, 4.75% interest began accruing as of early 2012.

Commissioners discussed the time Rode spent in the county jail, as well as whether or not he was incarcerated as an “inmate worker.” For the 138 days that he was classified as an inmate worker, the commission waved Rode’s fees. For the other 85, it agreed he would pay $4,250.

The commission instructed Rode to follow up with the Clerk of the Court to address potentially waiving additional court costs associated with the case.