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State Court of Appeals says “No Pay…No Warrant”

Posted Friday, June 24, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

A state appeals court ruled that judges cannot issue warrants if a probationer fails to pay fines and then fails to appear for a hearing to explain why.

The case involved Benton County’s “pay or appear” program, requiring a person to make payments or appear at court to explain why they were missed. The appellant Ms Jaclyn Sleater did not make a payment towards her fine and did not appear in court once a hearing was scheduled to address the non-payment. When she failed to appear, a warrant was issued for her arrest.

But the court in part said payment of financial obligations is a civil matter and the person’s ability to pay must also be taken into consideration. Therefore issuing an arrest warrant was not valid.

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