Officials: Fines ignored, unpaid

March 1, 2014 • Local News

City Council candidate for Ward 2, Caleb Grant spoke at the Federated Republican Women of Chaves County public forum held on Feb. 19. He revealed that there are nearly $1.2 million in fines outstanding from Municipal Court.

Grant told the Daily Record: “The police chief brought it up on Feb. 13 (at the last City Council meeting).”

Grant did investigations of his own, requesting the most current list of outstanding fines from Municipal Court records. “To be precise, there’s $1,148,627.50 owed to the city in unpaid fines.”

Variations in the figures illustrate that unpaid fines accrue daily.

“As of July 2013, there were $1,086,00 in outstanding fines (compared to the $1.2 million reported in February),” said City Councilor Jason Perry.

According to Grant, about $703,000 are 180 days past due. “Some date back to the 1980s,” he said.

His statistics come from a 141-page report, and of the 141 pages, 105 pages originated in the last five years, Grant said.

Municipal Court deals with low-level crime, while Magistrate and District Court deal with felony offices. Roswell Police Deputy Chief Brad McFadin explained that Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes, such as traffic citations, possession of marijuana under an ounce, graffiti and criminal damage under $500, shoplifting and larceny under $250, and other thefts under $500.

“Repeat offenders are not being held accountable. They know they will be out in few hours. It’s a cycle. People need to be held accountable for their acts,” said Grant. “There have got be consequences. If there’s no accountability, then there’s a message that you can get away with it.”

One of the problems is that, if the original fine is not paid, further fines are issued by the court. Perry said the current system of fines added to fines is not working.

“They’re getting fined Login to read more

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