Indiana county OKs 'recall' for failure to appear warrants

June 5, 2015

A northwest Indiana county is giving thousands of people facing outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court a chance to surrender on their own terms.

Tippecanoe County officials announced Wednesday that they'll offer a one-day warrant recall program on June 30 at the county courthouse in Lafayette. People who turn themselves in to authorities that day won't have to pay bond, nor will they be arrested if their warrant is eligible for the recall.

"We want to give them an opportunity to do the right thing," Superior Court Judge Sean Persin told the Journal & Courier.

Magistrate Judge Dan Moore said Tippecanoe County has more than 6,500 active warrants and about 5,200 of those are failures to appear in court.

Warrants eligible for the June 30 warrant recall include misdemeanor and low-level felony criminal cases, small claims and traffic cases.

If someone comes to the courthouse with a warrant that does not qualify for the recall, officials said that person will be arrested. Persin said anyone unclear on whether their warrant qualifies, can call the county clerk's office to find out.

Superior Court Judge Laura Zeman said it's still best to "just get it over with" even if someone has an outstanding warrant that isn't eligible. Otherwise the person could be arrested at any time.

"(It's) better to just turn yourself in on your own terms, own time frame," Zeman said.

After June 30, Tippecanoe County Sheriff Barry Richard said officers will begin a "warrant roundup" of people with outstanding warrants.


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