For the last few months California has been charging a fee for civil jury trials. That's not so unusual as states attempt to close budget gaps but their method of charging makes it harder to take.
The fee is nonrefundable even if the case settles before trial. It's also due much earlier than in most cases. Parties have to pay at or before the initial case management conference.
The purpose of the fee seems to be just another way to balance the budget but it may end up costing the state more than it brings in.