Tahlequah Daily Press

Crime & Courts

August 26, 2006

City to offer amnesty period on old warrants

TAHLEQUAH — Remember those traffic tickets you got back in 1993 that you didn’t pay? If your answer is “yes,” shame on you for not paying them. But regardless of whether you remember them, next Friday will be your lucky day.

Tahlequah city councilors unanimously approved Police Chief Steve Farmer’s request for a month-long amnesty period for people with municipal warrants. During September, those with outstanding municipal warrants can resolve their problems with the judicial system by paying their fines.

Farmer said that during the amnesty period, the city will waive payment of the warrant fee. The cost of the warrant will vary, depending on how long ago it was issued. The fee is $100 now, he said.

The police chief said many municipal warrants are at least 10 years old, and some are older.

“I saw one the other day that I was the complainant on, and it was when I was an animal control officer back in the ‘80s,” he said. “I don’t know what the warrant fee was then. It may have been $25.”

Farmer initially asked the council to only allow the amnesty period for people with warrants issued at least 10 years ago, but the council ultimately extended it to anyone with a municipal warrant, whether it was issued last week or 15 years ago.

“A lot of cities are doing it [amnesty periods] to clean out their files,” Farmer said. “We did it here in 2002.”

Mayor Ken Purdy asked about the response rate in other cities, and Farmer said they were successful. He said he doesn’t know how successful the last amnesty period was in Tahlequah.

Farmer said the Daily Press will be asked to help, by publishing a warrant list. Some people will call the municipal court clerk when they hear about the program to inquire whether there is a warrant for their arrest.

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