Douglas tries to get rid of clutter in court system
The bail is in the mail, so to speak.
Hoping to bank on its success from last year, the Tahoe Township Justice Court will mail ticket citations to Stateline’s holiday minor offenders.
The mail system was instituted last year to unclog the court system of people who were cited and released mostly for disorderly conduct.
In 2000, there were 64 offenses filed to the court. The bulk constituted disorderly conducts, while 12 were for minors gambling or drinking. One felony — a sexual assault — was later thrown out of court.
In all, 87 percent of the 63 misdemeanors were settled by people who pleaded guilty and sent their fine in by mail, said Judge Richard Glasson. It created a much-needed relief for the court schedule in the first part of 2002.
“It clogged up our court for about nine months (in 2001),” Glasson said. “In addition to the normal case load, we had 64 cases that needed to be heard in the first two months of the year. Normally, if we had 20, we now had 84. They swamped the public defender and the district attorney’s offices. There must be a more efficient way to deal with the mass of citations.”
Glasson narrowed the 63 offenses which occurred last year to 45 by separating those that didn’t happen from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m. New Year’s Day, those that didn’t take place in the casino corridor and in hotel rooms.
Out of the 45, four were for minors’ gambling or consuming alcohol, two for trespassing and one for a person having fake identification. The rest were disorderly conducts.
The benefits are bountiful. Fines are paid in full, the court schedule flows well and those who appear in court plead guilty, which proves the efforts of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in issuing citations, Glasson said.
Another benefit is the guilty-by-mail plea avoids publication of people’s names in their school newspaper, which is a requirement if the people plead guilty in court and want to avoid jail time, Glasson said.
William Ferchland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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