Monday, February 25, 2013

Lots of wanted people out there

From the Daily News:

There are now more than 1 million open bench warrants against loiterers, boozers and other petty scofflaws in New York, court records show. And while it’s unclear how many offenders are deceased or carry multiple offenses, the number of outlaws here nearly matches the population of Dallas.

Many may never get pinched for a forgotten or ignored pink slip. But a legal nightmare looms uncomfortably close for countless others.

There were 299,555 open bench warrants in Manhattan alone and another 245,000 in the Bronx at the beginning of May 2012, the latest available tally shows. Brooklyn and Queens had 237,000 and 218,000 respectively, while a mere 30,500 warrants hover above the heads of petty criminals on Staten Island.

The idea of locking so many people up is preposterous to some.

“All of this is a tremendous amount of city resources being spent chasing people for conduct that a reasonable person would hardly view as criminal,” said Stephen Banks, the chief attorney for the Legal Aid Society. “It would make more sense to review the outstanding warrants and clear them - particularly when the underlying alleged conduct is hardly a threat to public safety.”

The NYPD disagrees.

“The Warrant Division pursues individuals wanted for crimes and will arrest a person wanted on a bench warrant during the course of an investigation,” a department spokeswoman said.

“Clearly, we see the police department doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Bookstaver. “They’re following up on warrants and having people get their day in court. It’s a civics lesson. A good civics lesson.”


Jon Torodash said...

I'm all for reasonable fines (e.g. the ridiculous $115 ticket for parking in a No Standing Zone), and the penalties for these minor misdemeanors surely needs reform.

But people, you've got to answer to your citations and tickets. It's excessive, you got caught but not the other person, I know. Life is unfair like that sometimes. Be an adult, put aside your anger and pride to deal with it, consider it nasty a lesson learned, and help others avoid making the same mistake. If you want, fight it if you have some time and energy, or if it's really serious, then get a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

You don't pay your tickets, you risk arrest when the police pull you over for a routine traffic stop and they find out that your license has been suspended.

You end up in central booking and 24 hours in the slammer.

Anonymous said...

America has become a police state. The municipalities have spent all of your tax money and now they want your soul. The police are the standing army our nations founders warned us about!

Anonymous said...

Going after warrants for violations and infractions is a waste of time and money. There are plenty of misdemeanor & felony warrants to be cleared. Then again we're down 5000 cops.Personally i'd like to see more Highway patrol,oo many unsafe drivers out there.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that those who do not pay their fines or appear in court are more likely to commit future crimes than those who do.
While this should be considered lower on the police's list of priorities, it is still important. Without enforcement, we'd have chaos. If you know that you won't get in trouble for not paying fines or showing up on a bench warrant, there is no reason for you not to continue to break the law.