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Fully Vaccinated? St. Louis Court Offers $100 Incentive As Part Of Warrant Forgiveness

Judge Newton McCoy is an administrative judge with the St. Louis Municipal Court.
Evie Hemphill
St. Louis Public Radio
Judge Newton McCoy is the administrative judge with the St. Louis Municipal Court.

Next Friday and Saturday, people with an outstanding bench warrant in St. Louis Municipal Court will have a chance to set a new court date or even take care of the charges on the spot. They’ll also have a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine. And, if they can show proof of full vaccination, the court will offer $100 off their fines and court fees.

“The original conception of the event was to make vaccination clinics available at the same time as the amnesty to give people the opportunity to get vaccinated,” explained Municipal Judge Newton McCoy on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. That idea was later expanded to give an incentive to those who have already gotten their shots.

The weekend events represent the fourth consecutive warrant amnesty dates in the city, yet the number of outstanding warrants continues to rise. In 2018, there were 54,000 outstanding warrants; now there are about 138,000. That’s a 155% increase.

McCoy, who is the administrative judge for the St. Louis Municipal Court, said that the warrants reflect the court’s increased portfolio, which now includes citations from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, dumping cases, Metro tickets and more.

McCoy said the pandemic has likely caused outstanding warrants to increase as well.

“Maybe people have been less interested in coming to court, or else they’ve felt that during COVID everything has come to a halt — which it really hasn’t, because we’ve been conducting virtual court,” McCoy said. “It’s hard for me to know what a person who is deliberately not coming to court to avoid us is thinking.”

Listen: Warrant Forgiveness In St. Louis

Bench warrants are typically issued by a judge after someone doesn’t show up in court. In municipal court, where cases often involve traffic violations, they can still lead to arrest unless they are dealt with and the accompanying fees are paid.

The municipal court will offer warrant forgiveness on August 27-28. The court can be reached at (314) 622-3231.

The St. Louis Circuit Court, which handles misdemeanors and felonies, will also offer warrant forgiveness on Friday, August 27. About 2,000 outstanding warrants there are considered eligible and people should call the court at (314) 641-8214 for more information. Unfortunately for those defendants, that court is not offering vaccine incentives.

Related Events

What: St. Louis Municipal Court Warrant Forgiveness
When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., August 27-28, 2021
Where: St. Louis Municipal Court, 1520 Market St., St. Louis, MO 63103

What: St. Louis Circuit Court Warrant Forgiveness
When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., August 27, 2021
Where: St. Louis Circuit Court, 10 N. Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63101

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.