Nearly 2 million warrants worth more than $340 million are outstanding in the Houston area. Most are for average citizens who haven’t settled minor traffic and ordinance citzations, reports the city’s Chronicle. The papers said the volume of warrants is a widespread problem that overwhelms some courts and law enforcement agencies. Judges and police officials say managing thousands of case files and tracking down scofflaws is a never-ending task.
Houston alone has more than 1.2 million outstanding class C misdemeanor warrants. Court officials estimate the warrants are worth about $300 million, which would be pumped into the city’s general fund when collected. A lot of that money, however, is not actually owed to the city until a person is found guilty. About 80 percent of Houston’s warrants are traffic-related. But some of the city’s worst offenders are those with building code violations related to property or businesses they own. The top nine offenders each have 99 or more warrants. All but two live in the Houston area, and despite having addresses listed in court documents, none have been arrested.