Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces today, in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s Law Day 2019, that he filed a motion for a court order to recall 2,433 arrest warrants in old Douglas County criminal and traffic cases. Law Day, held annually on May 1, is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day provides an opportunity to understand how law and the legal process protect our liberty, strive to achieve justice, and contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share.
The old warrants were for people that have not been involved with the system for a long period of time. The amount of time since the date of the original offenses ranges from over a decade to well over 30 years. Most cases are minor misdemeanor offenses or failure to appear cases. Each case was screened to determine the seriousness of the crime and the impact on any victims or the community.
DA Branson said, “Recalling the warrants and closing the associated cases, which generally could not be successfully prosecuted due to the passage of time, removes a steep barrier to employment opportunities, housing, and a variety of other collateral consequences for hundreds of Douglas County citizens. These cases clog the criminal justice system and require valuable time and expense to maintain. Those resources can now be used on more pressing cases and investigations.”
The current practice of the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office is to review case files every few years and to purge old cases as a part of routine case management. Serious cases are generally never closed, but if a serious case comes up for warrant review, it would only be closed after a thorough case review was completed and a determination was made that the case could no longer proceed. When cases are closed, the warrants are recalled and removed from local warrant lists and NCIC.
This project was completed in conjunction with the Douglas County District Court and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. In particular, DA Branson would like to thank the following individuals, as without their work and dedication to the project, it could not have been completed.
- CJ Rieg, Chief Assistant District Attorney
- The Honorable Peggy C. Kittel, Division Six and Chief Judge
- Amber Ballard of the Clerk of the District Court Office
- Vance Collins of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
- Tedd Sandstrom of Douglas County District Court
- Intern Connor Rieg of the District Attorney’s Office