By, Joe Pyritz – Public Information Officer
Last week a letter arrived on the desk of Justice of the Peace Shaun Babeu. He gets many letters from those that will appear in his court, some asking for leniency, others asking for more time to resolve their case.
But this letter was different.
Upon reading the handwritten, one-page letter, the Justice of the Peace heart brightened up. It was a thank you note and an update from a person who visited his court in 2016 for the first-ever Warrant Resolution Day.
“You don’t often receive letters like this,” Judge Babeu said. “It was a simple thank you note for giving this person a second chance at getting their life back together.”
The goal of the Warrant Resolution Day is simple — Anyone with a warrant issued by the Apache Junction Justice Court can appear on that designated day to have their warrant quashed and get their case back on track. The court opens on a Saturday to give people an opportunity to appear on a non-business court day. Now that Judge Babeu is in the Pioneer Justice Court (San Tan Valley), he plans on keeping the tradition alive.
“Many people have to make a tough decision on coming to court or potentially losing their job, so we want to see if we can work toward getting these cases back on track and clear the warrant,” the Justice of the Peace said. “In many cases individuals get pulled over for civil traffic violations and then taken into custody because they have an active warrant. Jail costs for Pinal County are estimated to be around $73.00 a day and those costs are never recouped when people are booked into the jail on a warrant. The court is willing to make this effort in an attempt to get individuals back on track and to save the taxpayers money.”
The success of the Warrant Resolution Day comes in the fact that the defendants can get their cases back on track and still be able to work. This makes recouping the money owed in fines much easier along with making a court date in front of the judge a bit more pleasant.
Here is the letter:
Dear Judge Babeu,
In Sept. 2016 you held a warrant resolution day. I was scared to come. I thought it could just be a roundup. I came at the last minute. I had been struggling for 4 years due to not having a driver’s license. I also had a warrant. I couldn’t get a job because I didn’t have a license. I couldn’t get my license because I couldn’t pay the fine. I couldn’t pay the fine because I couldn’t get a job. You see the circle! I paid my find off today! I’ve been working since April 1st 2017. I purchased a car. I have a home. I’m back with my daughter. You helped change my life. I’m so grateful for your help sir. I also lost my beautiful mother 4-7-2016 and had lost all hope for any kind of happy life. I can’t thank you enough for helping me. God bless you!