Lubbock Co. faces major backlog on dismissing old warrants

Lubbock Co. faces major backlog on dismissing old warrants

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Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Susan Rowley said she is getting ready to dismiss at least 15,000 cases. She described it as a major backlog with cases dating back to the early 2000's. 

"We're talking of thousands of thousands of active warrants for tickets that should have been, must have been by law,dismissed two years after the citation was given," Rowley said.

Rowley worries there are people sitting in jail for these old tickets that never received a complaint. 

"In the State of Texas, a Class C offense, a signed complaint has to be presented," Assistant District Attorney Tom Brummett said. "That would be analogous to information in a misdemeanor or an indictment in a felony."

Brummett said he found out about this issue during the commissioner's meeting Monday. While he has not been able to take a look at the numbers himself, he said it is not the first time a precinct has dealt with a backlog.

"We have done bulk dismissals before, nothing makes me believe this is a problem solely confined to JP2," Brummett said.

Attorney Justin Kiechler said he has dealt with several clients who have been affected by backlogs. 

"I've got a case right now from 2006 that's still pending with an active warrant," Kiechler said.

He agreed it is important for the DA's office to dismiss what it can and just move forward.

"People getting arrested randomly is quite frustrating so, from the revenue perspective that's potentially loss of income from the county or city," Kiechler said. "But from the prospective of keeping the court running, to make sure a back log doesn't keep increasing, my personal opinion is, get rid of it and let's start fresh with a new judge." 

Rowley agreed it is not ideal to lose out on all that revenue, but she said it is her responsibility to make sure no one ends up in jail unlawfully. Click here for contact information for Precinct 2. 

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