A number of Rainy River District residents may feel barred from the United States, due an outstanding warrant south of the border. But the Koochiching County District Court has a solution.
The Court will be holding two “Warrant Resolution Days” on Thursday March 12 and Friday March 13, open to Canadian and American residents who have criminal warrants against them. The goal is to reduce the backlog of hundreds of outstanding warrants and reengage people with the judicial system.
Persons with warrants who appear for Warrant Resolution Days will not be arrested. Instead, they will have the opportunity to speak with a public defender, if needed, and discuss a plea deal with the prosecutor. Regardless of the circumstances of the warrant, the Public Defender’s Office will have attorneys present at the event to represent the defendants and assist them throughout the process of resolving their warrants.
For Canadians, an agreement is being put in place with border agents, to allow people attending Warrant Resolutions Days to pass through the border without being apprehended, according to court officials. Many of these warrants are the result of failing to appear in court for previous infractions, officials added.
The Koochiching County Attorney and the International Falls Koochiching County Attorney and the International Falls City Attorney are willing to quash warrants of all criminal levels, including traffic offenses, petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and even felonies. “This is going to provide a valuable service to our community in that it will potentially clear up a large backlog of active warrants, help keep our local jail from overcrowding, and, importantly, allow people to not live in fear of arrest for their warrants,” says Hon. Charles LeDuc, judge of the District Court.
Warrants for juveniles, Child Support Warrants, and warrants for other counties cannot be resolved on these days. Department of Corrections Warrants Supervised Release (parole) will not be dismissed.
While these days are aimed at dismissing the warrants, not the offenses, the prosecutors and defense attorneys still hope to resolve as many of the cases as possible, which may include an appearance before the judge, if necessary. If the case cannot be resolved, the warrant will still be dismissed and the matter will be set for hearing at the earliest possible date.
Defendants will have the opportunity to pay any outstanding fines or set up a payment plan for those fines. They will also have the opportunity to schedule any Sentence to Serve hours they may still have outstanding or are ordered to perform.
Persons with active criminal warrants in Koochiching County can arrive any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on either day. Coffee and cookies will be provided while defendants wait for their case to be called and resolved.
To find out if you have a warrant in Koochiching County, call Koochiching County Court Administration at 218-283-1160 or watch for Koochiching County’s active warrant list to be published in the Saturday, March 7 edition of the International Falls Journal.