Nicole Sutton, 25, of Cleveland has received four traffic tickets in the last four years but never paid her fines, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Starting tomorrow, she and 90,000 others can take part in an amnesty program proposed by a group of ministers. Cleveland Municipal Court will hold sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays in February for those who wish to clear their warrants on traffic and nonviolent misdeameanor offenses. The court will waive the $25 fee it normally charges for each arrest warrant. A typical fine and court costs for a traffic ticket is about $125. “If a person comes down here, we’ll work with him and give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Cleveland Municipal Court Presiding Judge Larry Jones.
Sutton plans to take advantage of the program, but officials are unsure how many people will follow her lead. If all 90,000 people were to come in and plead to at least one charge, the court could take in well over $11 million. Money collected from fines would be split between the city and state, depending on the ordinance. About two-thirds of the 90,000 with active misdemeanor warrants are Clevelanders, which means one in six adult city residents are wanted by police.