- Defense attorney Jill Webb says the Tulsa County Public Defender's Office is creating debtors' prisons for poor people getting misdemeanor and traffic tickets.
- Webb says these people can't pay their fines and that court costs and are landing them in jail, which can cause them to lose their jobs or make it hard to find work
- She says Tulsa County judges were violating a state law by issuing a high number of failure to pay warrants
- The Tulsa Public Defenders' Office sent a memo to judges earlier this year that led to a reduction in the number of failure to pay warrants
- Officials said they also implemented a number of programs and resources to help people pay fines
- In April 2017 the public defender's office noticed Tulsa County judges issued a high volume of failure to pay warrants.
- Tulsa County Clerk Don Newberry told FOX23 the state holds Rule 8 hearings to determine if people can pay fines before they are sent to jail, he also says people have two years to pay before the fines goes to a collection agency, Aberdeen
- Newberry says since the change this year the county has taken extra steps to help indigent people pay their fines off. Newberry says they have jail programs to help pay a person's bond and have a specialized reduced bond an indigent person can request
- He also said the county plans on having another amnesty day to help people get caught up on their payments. The last one was this past summer. Newberry says prior to this year an amnesty day hasn't been done in more than 10 years.
- WATCH FOX23 Ashli Lincoln's full report above.
The county system to determine if a person can pay their fines follows this pattern:
Trial-> report to court in 180 days-> Rule 8 hearing-> set payment plan-> missed payments leads to warrant
Take a look at 2016 compared to year to date 2017:
Here's a closer look at the number of failure to pay warrants issued in recent years:
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