County Seeks to Clear Warrants and Fines

More than three thousand outstanding warrants are on the books at Lauderdale County Justice Court.

Court officials say they are for infractions that happened anywhere from 90 days ago to ten years ago.

"For outstanding traffic citations and outstanding fines, if you are stopped by the highway patrol, the sheriff's department, the Meridian Police Department or a Lauderdale County constable, you're going to be brought to jail because an outstanding warrant is going to show in the system," said Justice Court Judge Robbie Robinson.

It's estimated that the outstanding fines in the cases could equal nearly a million dollars.

"Some people have 3, 4 or 5 warrants," Robinson said. "Some people just have one. And normally in that period of time, if we go back, normally you're license is suspended. So, that's another charge you have to deal with."

So far, warrants have officially been served to just over 400 people. This has resulted in the payment of almost $100,000 in outstanding fines.

"Just the word of mouth," said District 2 Constable Ondray Harris. "You know, people are finding out and hearing that they're being looked for and some of them know that they are being looked for, so they will come one day and most of the time come pay their fines on out."

"I try to cross reference. Get them on the phone; get them to come in and pay," said District 4/5 Constable Chuck Roberts. "Some we have to make arrests, but we try to get them in to clear these fines.

"If they think there's a warrant out for their arrest or their license has been suspended, they need to contact someone up here in justice court," said Robinson.

Unlike the recent Amnesty Day sponsored by the city of Meridian, justice court officials stress that in this effort there will be no negotiations.

"They have to either pay or stay (in jail). That's it," said Robinson.

Court officials are reminding the public that there is no statute of limitation on a crime. This means a warrant can be activated for an outstanding fine, no matter how long ago that fine was issued.