Persons with unpaid municipal tickets and outstanding warrants should take note — beginning Monday, the City of Palestine is offering a temporary amnesty period on its warrants.

During the amnesty period, individuals with outstanding municipal tickets or warrants may come voluntarily to City Hall to pay their tickets or fines in full, without being charged the normal $50 warrant fee per offense.

Warrants may be either arrest warrants for individuals who have not yet come before Municipal Judge Bill Curley or capias warrants, which are issued for people who make arrangements to pay before the judge but have not followed through on their obligation, according to City Administrative Assistant Mike Ohrt.

According to Ohrt, those who pay their outstanding tickets or fines in full during the amnesty period will have their warrants recalled and not be subject to later arrest on those charges.

The amnesty period will run from Monday through Nov. 30.

At some point after Nov. 30, City Marshal Joe Baxter will organize a warrant roundup for individuals with outstanding municipal tickets or warrants at that time, according to city officials. Those individuals will be subject to arrest and booked into the Anderson County Jail until seen by a magistrate.

Ohrt said Friday that city officials are offering the amnesty period as a way to encourage people to clear their fines and as a result, to take some of a backlog of cases off the municipal court.

“One, it’s to clear a backlog of warrants in the system,” Ohrt said. “We have a lot not served. Second, we’d like to see an increased amount of people trying to come and take care of their obligations, whether they have a warrant or not.”

In addition, tickets and fines paid during the amnesty period will increase the amount of funds collected by the city.

During 2003-04, the city collected $320,723 in all fines and fees. That figure dipped some to $296,333 in 2004-05, but appears headed back up for 2005-06, which City Finance Director Bobby Pennington estimates to be around $320,000.

For more information, contact the Palestine Municipal Court Administrator Janelle Sheffield at 903-731-8420, the municipal court clerks at 903-731-8433 or 903-731-8466 or Baxter at 903-731-8476 or 903-724-3012.


Beth Foley may be contacted via e-mail at

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