Several law enforcement agencies are sponsoring a program with the help of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Cathedral, to encourage persons with outstanding and unresolved arrest warrants to seek resolution of these by appearing at the church from Wednesday, July 28, through Saturday, July 31, 2010. No religious affiliation is required or assumed.
People who, for one reason or another, have ignored a traffic ticket or other citation to appear before a court, are usually issued a bench warrant for their arrest. And although they are vulnerable to be arrested on the spot if they are stopped for a traffic citation, sometimes they are afraid to seek to resolve the issue for fear they will be arrested. They then live in fear of arrest or, perhaps, just hope for the best, thinking the law will forget everything in a few weeks.
Persons who appear as part of this program will not be arrested at the church, and most bench warrants will be nullified if the accused appears and makes an effort to resolve the issue either by contacting a public defender (several will be in the church for this purpose) or lawyer, or by pleading guilty and making arrangements to pay the fine. A judge will be available to answer questions and to assist where possible. Persons wanted for more serious crimes may also appear without fear of immediate arrest, to seek advice. One imagines those who turn themselves in will be looked upon with some favor in resolving issues.
From the perspective of law enforcement, the jails are already full; there are many outstanding warrants; simply arresting everyone with outstanding warrants will overcrowd the jail; and law enforcement recognizes that jail time, while serving as a deterrent for delinquency, is not a good option for most people who have ignored citations. As an added incentive for persons to turn themselves in, the program brochure does state ominously, "warrant sweeps will be conducted at the conclusion of the program." FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 575 386 4294 (Yes, you can use someone else's cell phone!)