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State Judge Pays Austin Speeding Ticket After Arrest Warrant Issued
A state judge paid up on a 4-year-old Austin speeding ticket after an arrest warrant was issued. We first told you Wednesday morning about the case involving Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence Meyers. What started out as a $193 ticket in 2008 grew to $535.90 by the time he paid up late Thursday morning, closing the case.
“The way this played out is very typical for people," said Bianca Bentzin, the City of Austin Law Department Chief Criminal Prosecutor.
Typical not so much in terms of the road to the outcome, but in the outcome itself when it comes to traffic warrants and other Class C misdemeanor warrants.
"Most of them get cleared up without any sort of significant incident," said Bentzin. “I would say a high number of people who just know about the warrant call and say ‘Hey, I want to do the right thing, I want to clear up my warrant. Another large bulk of them come from just routine traffic stops or just an officer running a plate."
But what about those warrants that remain? Bentzin says Austin police typically make the final call on whether or not to pursue the person in question.
"What are their resources for pursuing warrants?” said Bentzin. “Obviously the public would rather see resources used for higher offenses of felonies and so forth, but it's not unheard of for a misdemeanor warrant to be pursued when we feel like it's a situation where the person is not at all interested in complying with the court order."
But some KEYE TV viewers felt this case fit that description. When asked if preferential treatment was being given, Bentzin replied, "I don't think so necessarily, the way this has preceded is as it would be anyone else who didn't abide by a court order."
When we brought up that the warrant had been out a month, Bentzin replied, “That fact that there's been a warrant came to our attention very recently, and so the conversations have just begun as to, ‘Is this the type of case where resources would like to be dedicated?’"
Judge Meyers had been quoted in another media outlet as saying he didn’t want to lose his right to appeal and was looking at the possibility of a trial. Earlier Thursday, we attempted to contact the judge, both at his home and office, both over the phone and in person, but we had not heard back as of 5 p.m.
We also reached out to Round Rock police to ask about their warrant pursuit policy. Officer Dee Carver, the department’s spokesperson, told us their officers participate in warrant round up each year, but most of the misdemeanor warrants they clear come from traffic stops.
By Adam Bennett