In February, Little Rock District Court will aid those with misdemeanor warrants | Arkansas Blog

Friday, January 19, 2018

In February, Little Rock District Court will aid those with misdemeanor warrants

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 5:19 PM

This February, the Little Rock District Court's criminal division will be helping people with active warrants resulting from misdemeanors address their warrants without arrest.

All month (except for on Feb. 19, which is a federal holiday) the court will be open from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for an amnesty program — dealing with warrants resulting from failure to appear, failure to pay fines, or failure to comply (for example, by not doing community service required by the court) on misdemeanor charges.

Those with warrants can come and "address the warrants without the fear of going to jail on that warrant," said Natalie Short, senior probation officer for the court.

The only requirements are that the charge is a misdemeanor charge and within purview of the Little Rock District Court's criminal division; not, for example, traffic court. One can call 501-371-4725 with questions, according to a flyer (both in Spanish and English; linked at the bottom of this post) publicizing the initiative.

Judge Hugh Finkelstein, who was part of a team that had been planning this since at least late 2017, will preside. Public defenders will also be present for those with active warrants to ensure proper representation.

The last such program, Short said, occurred about three years ago and only on Fridays.

"[We're] hoping to reach more people," she said. "I don’t think we have any expectations, but the real hope is that people do come."

They should have something to address.

Emma Pettit recently wrote for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on the problem of people being jailed for failure to appear in Pulaski County. According to her numbers, 27 percent of people booked into the jail in 2017 had a failure to appear charge. And a whooping 7 percent — 1,580 people — were arrested exclusively for failure to appear charge in 2017, Pettit reported.

click to enlarge 26172718_2006989985992792_2300510074975929_o.jpg

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