LA Considers Amnesty for Bench Warrants

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

There are hundreds of thousands of bench warrants for homeless people in Los Angeles, but an amnesty proposal could reduce pressure on both courts and jails.


By Richard Winton

The Los Angeles Police Department is considering a plan that would allow thousands of homeless people to eliminate old bench warrants as part of a larger effort to reform a system that has created a vicious cycle for those with nowhere to live.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore described the proposal as a “radical solution” to ease the pressure on the court system, jails and police stations, which are being overwhelmed daily with hundreds of people arrested on these warrants.

Moore said the amnesty ideas would cover only longstanding bench warrants for homeless people who failed to show up in court for minor offenses. He stressed that the LAPD has no plans to change how officers enforce various “quality-of-life” crimes but hoped the shift would result in a more effective, streamlined process for handling these cases.

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