36th District collects $300K from ticket amnesty progam

Oralandar Brand-Williams

The ticket amnesty program for Detroit’s 36th District Court has paid off handsomely.

The two-day “Holiday Sales Event” sponsored by the court Dec. 28 -29 brought$300,000 into the court’s coffers, court officials announced last week.

Court officials said thousands of people took advantage ofthe program resulting in the closing of 2,232 cases, that included the clearance of 1,888 license suspensions.

“It was an exceptional concept and offer to the people living in or visiting our great city, many of whom have been struggling to reinstate their driving privileges,” said Chief Judge Nancy Blount in a news release. “We were in the giving spirit and I decided to enter an order allowing the reduction.”

The response was so great, say court officials, that the court had to issue about 500 “rain checks” that will allow citizens to come back and pay their tickets or fines through the end of this month.

“We really wanted to do something unique that would provide the public we serve with an opportunity to start out the new year with a fresh start,” said 36th District Court Administrator Kelli Moore Owen in a press release.

The programs allowed thousands of metro Detroiters to take advantage of the Court’s offer to waive late and warrant fees. The amnesty program also included license suspension clearance fees to restore driving privileges. “

Theamnesty program was the latest one for the once-troubled city court.

Court officials held a similar program last April that brought in $2 million. About 58,000 people took part in that program to pay off old tickets and fines.

In 2013, the court went through a restructuring that court officials say balanced the budget and improved customer service. That same year, a report by the National Center for State Courts concluded the court was mismanaged, had a bloated payroll and had poor customer service. The report also concluded the court was $5 million over its $31 million annual budget, and court officials had failed to collect $279 million in traffic tickets and other fines.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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