City court system offering amnesty period

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
The Russellville Municipal Court plans to offer amnesty to those with outstanding warrants for the month of February.
City officials hope to reduce the number of outstanding warrants and help individuals make arrangements to pay off their debt owed to the courts.
Russellville Municipal Court Clerk LaDonna Hitt said people make mistakes and don’t think there is a way out of what they have done. She believes the economy has hindered a lot of people from paying off their debt.
Hitt believes this will help those people out who really haven’t done anything wrong they have just forgot to pay what is owed.
The amnesty program states that if a person has an outstanding warrant for an offense for which they have failed to appear in court for, then he or she may turn it over to the Russellville Municipal Court during office hours. Paperwork will be processed and the individuals will be asked to sign their own bond and be assigned a new court appearance.
If the charge is an offence that allows a magistrate to take a plea of guilt, the individual may plead guilty and pay in full or make payment arrangements. If he or she pleads not guilty a new court date will be issued.
Individuals must decide and show up on their own terms if amnesty is to be awarded. Persons with warrants who come in contact with law enforcement prior to voluntarily presenting themselves at the court office are subject to arrest and are not eligible for amnesty.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said the program should give people some incentive to take care of their warrants before having to set in a cell.
Defendants may voluntarily make payment arrangements at the Russellville Municipal Court Office from 8a.m. to 4p.m. Monday-Friday during the entire month of February. After the amnesty period ends, all remaining outstanding warrants will be turned over to the Russellville Police Department to be served.

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