‘Second Chance’ days coming to West Memphis District Court
Individuals with outstanding warrants can get cases cleared and save on court costs
It’s not exactly a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but it’s still a great opportunity for those with some lingering legal troubles to get their situations on the right side of the law.
Who ever gets a second chance in Judge Fred Thorne’s courtroom, right? Potentially hundred of folks with warrants for their failure to appear charges on misdemeanors and traffic offenses will get some special consideration. Judge Thorne has scheduled a series of “Second Chance” days in his West Memphis court for those that have outstanding warrants.
The judge stopped short of calling it an “amnesty day,” because fines for no contest or guilty pleas will be handed out. The benefit comes in that the failure to appear charges will be set aside and the original matter settled straight away. Those with suspended licenses and who pay the fines can get their driving privileges restored by the end of the day, according to the judge.
“If they want to dispose of their case that day, plead guilty or no contest, then we won’t charge them with any court cost, fine or jail time on their warrant,” said Thorne. “They’ll pay a $50 warrant fee and then whatever we come up with on the fines. If they pay it all on that day then we will release them to go get their license. They will have to pay their reinstatement fee. If they are on a time payment plan and pay for three months, I’ll release their license then. This gives them a chance to get their license back and not worry about getting stopped on the highway and going to jail. No more worries about $640 costs and six month in jail getting caught on a warrant. They can come in, take this second chance, and dispose of there case that day.
It is a three step process; here is how it will work. Turn yourself into the West Memphis District Court 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on any one of three days, Thursday, Sept. 28; Thursday, Oct. 12; or Thursday; Oct. 26. Then receive a citation to return to court on Tuesday, Oct. 31 to receive sentencing on traffic cases. City cases will be heard beginning at 8:30 a.m., and county cases at 1:30 p.m. Criminal warrants will receive a citation and set on a regular docket schedule for plea. All Failure to Appear warrants will be recalled and a $50 service fee applied with the balance of fines and costs assessed by the judge.
Where did Judge Thorne get the idea to try a Second Chance Program?
“Jonesboro district court has a program and I called the judge from there for details,” said Thorne. “If it works well here, I will repeat it in the spring.”
Thorne wanted to get the word out ahead of time so second-chancers could plan their calendar and pocket book to dispose of their case in one hearing.
The Second Chance Program will be publicized in the Times, on Facebook, and on the Crittenden County and West Memphis website. For more information contact Lorin Peyton (870) 7327560 at the West Memphis District Court house.
By John Rech