Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Municipal Court Judge Wants Arrest Warrants Resolved without Car Chases

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Municipal Court Judge Wants Arrest Warrants Resolved without Car Chases

Article excerpt

A Topeka man in his 30s, who was issued a ticket for a traffic infraction, hadn't gone to Topeka Municipal Court to resolve the case.

He missed the first court appearance in May, triggering a warrant for his arrest. He didn't know how much the fines would be but figured he couldn't pay all the costs even if he went to court, so he didn't bother to go, Administrative Judge Jason E. Geier said this week.

Meanwhile, unknown to the motorist, his driver's license was suspended by the state because he hadn't dealt with the traffic ticket.

When Geier went to a "Meet the Judge" event, he talked to the motorist, who made an appointment with Geier to resolve the runaway ticket. When the motorist made his appointment with the judge, Geier canceled the bench warrant for failing to appear in court in May, then set up a monthly schedule for the man to pay the fine and other costs.

"He was happy as a clam," Geier said.

Geier has spoken about court at 10 Meet the Judge events, held at community centers, the Topeka Housing Authority and a Neighborhood Improvement Association gathering.

"Clean Slate," an education campaign so motorists can deal with traffic arrest warrants in the city of Topeka and related unresolved traffic tickets, will help people like the motorist the judge met, he said.

The first Clean Slate event will be Oct. 14, when 75 motorists wanted on arrest warrants can come to Municipal Court to talk to a judge, to perhaps get the warrant canceled and to resolve traffic cases on the books. A defendant also can get a brief consultation with defense attorneys who have volunteered.

At the same time, a person can get a Municipal Court conviction expunged -- meaning it would be erased -- if he or she meets the criteria, Geier said. …

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