Monday, July 28, 2014

Law and Order in the Ozarks (CXXVI): Court move makes it easier for defendants to pay fines and fees

The Newton County Times reported in its July 16, 2014 issue that the district court's office will open late on Fridays so that people can pay their fines and fees as they are on their way home with their week's wages.  Here's the lede:
The Newton County Quorum Court met in regular monthly session Monday night, July 7, and passed an ordinance allowing the clerk, the deputy clerk/probation officer and the probation officer of the Newton County District Court to collect fines, costs, and restitution assessed by that court.  
Those monies are also collected at the sheriff's office by collection clerk appointed by the sheriff, but due to staffing problems there hasn't been a clerk available to take the moneys on Friday.  Persons can continue to make payments at the Sheriff's office the rest of the week.  
District Judge Tommy Martin told the Times afterward that it is important to have a location to collect payments on Fridays because that is the day when most people get paid.  They have the money to make their court-ordered payments and avoid having a warrant issued.  The District Court is normally in session the first and third Mondays of each month.  Fines, costs, fees, and restitution can be made with the court at the time of adjudication, Martin said.  
In other business, Justice of the Peace:
  • adopted a resolution supporting the application for any Automated Records System Grant opportunities that become available.  These grants help counties to purchase hardware and software designed to improve the efficiency in research and sharing of information for office personnel, the assessor, abstractors, bank personnel, attorneys as well as the general public.  They also reduce future space needs.
  • passed a resolution authorizing the county judge to apply for state General Improvement Funds from the Arkansas Rural Development Commission and the Department of Rural Services.  The grant is in the amount of $151,340.73 and is available through a second funding cycle that began last month.  This represents the second half of about $400K earlier earmarked for the county sheriff's office and the county jail project.  
  • passed an ordinance allowing Carolyn S. Bailey to solemnize marriages. Two JPs voted against this ordinance.  
  • heard from proponents of a legalizing alcohol sales in Newton County.  That group supports a statewide effort that is submitting 84,000 signatures to the Secretary of State in an effort to put an initiative on the state ballot.  
The Sheriff reported that dispatching radio equipment was being installed in the new jail, with the steel tower having been erected that day.  

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