Fourth City Of Tulsa Amnesty Court Has Overwhelming Turnout
The city has been offering amnesty to people with misdemeanor warrants for two weeks now.
On Thursday, officials were at Whiteside Park. The last three amnesty courts also were held at area parks, and they all have been packed with people hoping to erase fines.
But on Thursday, it was so busy, judges had to turn people away.
“This is a big weight off my shoulders,” Emmett Spencer said.
Spencer was just one of the hundreds of people looking to clear his name with the City of Tulsa.
He had outstanding warrants for tickets that he thought would amount to more than $1,000, and didn't think he would be able to pay it off -- until now.
“I mean, I've been stopped by a police and they just told me, ‘Emmett just go and pay it off.' They didn't take me to jail; they could have,” he said.
And that's what many people are trying to avoid -- a possible trip to jail -- and with 90,000 outstanding warrants in the city, that means a lot of people.
"As you can see, people take advantage of this, so we got here early and it paid off,” Spencer said.
Kelly Brader, a court administrator helping with the amnesty days, said the city doesn't want to take people to jail if it doesn't have to.
But as the event wraps up, those who haven't cleared their fines may be out of luck.
"And in the near future, the police department is going to do an active warrant sweep, an aggressive one," Brader said.
But clearing fines for so many can be tough, especially with the turn out this year.
Dozens had to be turned away Thursday afternoon after the judges were inundated at the community center. If you were turned away on Thursday, you still can go to the Tulsa Municipal Court on Friday.
"And if they work with people more often like this, it would be a lot better for everybody,” Rick Acuna said.
The city is encouraging people who are ticketed in the future and can't pay in full, to get on a payment plan so there is no worry about a warrant hanging over their head.