Municipal Court amnesty has some success

Fine waiver ended Dec. 31

jgaines@macon.comJanuary 22, 2014 

The monthlong amnesty program on punitive fines by Macon’s Municipal Court brought in about $19,450, the court’s director said.

Municipal Court Director John Pattan said he compiled results of the December amnesty period, which city officials announced in November.

“The amnesty program was definitely worth it for Macon because without the incentive of the waiver, we may not ever have collected the $19,451.30,” Pattan said via email.

The amnesty had several purposes, Municipal Court Judge Robert Faulkner said at the time: giving a break to people who had legitimate reasons for missing court dates, allowing some to end driver’s-license suspension for unpaid fines, collecting some amount on fines that otherwise might never be paid, and clearing some of about 1,000 cases before the Jan. 1 consolidation of Macon and Bibb County governments.

The court had offered such amnesties before for similar reasons, Faulkner said.

The original fines for offenses still applied, but late fees and additional penalties for missed court dates were waived for those who took advantage of the amnesty offer. Fines that remain unpaid are once again subject to those charges, now that the amnesty is over.

In December, fines for 153 cases were waived, generating an average payment of $127.13, Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said in an email. The fine for failing to appear in court is $140, meaning most of those who took advantage of the amnesty cut their payment by more than half.

Altogether, $21,420 in penalties was waived, Floore said. Without the amnesty, however, neither that amount nor the original fines might ever have been collected.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service