Video: Now for something completely positive (August)

Video: Now for something completely positive (August)

Take a look back at some of the positive things that happened in the City of College Station in August: The city’s Traffic Division made crossing University Drive easier for those who use wheelchairs, College Station was named the best city in the country for career opportunities during the pandemic, Water Services quick response to a leak prevented a major problem, first responders helped assisted living residents finally see their families, and Judge Spillane conducted his first Zoom wedding — from Kyle Field. Now that’s something completely positive! Continue reading Video: Now for something completely positive (August)

Pay heed to warrant amnesty and save money, avoid jail

Pay heed to warrant amnesty and save money, avoid jail

Since the City of College Station began our warrant amnesty/warrant roundup program in 2007, we’ve cleared more than 6,000 warrants valued at over $2 million. The first warrant amnesty period of 2018 for the City of College Station and Brazos County starts Monday and runs through March 2. If you have an outstanding warrant, you can avoid paying a $50 per case warrant fee if you pay the fine in full. It’s a much better option than going to jail. Continue reading Pay heed to warrant amnesty and save money, avoid jail

Save money, avoid jail during fall warrant amnesty

Save money, avoid jail during fall warrant amnesty

The fall warrant amnesty period for the City of College Station and Brazos County starts today and runs through Nov. 4.

If you have an outstanding warrant, you can avoid paying a $50 per case warrant fee if you pay the fine in full.
Many cities do the roundup without offering amnesty, but we think the amnesty period is important because you can make restitution, save a little money, and avoid jail time. Continue reading Save money, avoid jail during fall warrant amnesty

Why Judge Spillane refuses to send people to jail for failure to pay fines

Why Judge Spillane refuses to send people to jail for failure to pay fines

JanPietruszk/123RF Stock Photo

Editor’s Note: This op-ed first appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post. As of Monday afternoon, it had received more than 200,000 clicks on the Post’s website.

By Ed Spillane, Presiding Judge, College Station Municipal Court

Melissa J. showed up in my court last year with four kids in tow. Her children quietly watched from a nearby table while I spoke with her. The charges against her — driving with an invalid license, driving without insurance, not wearing a seat belt, failure to use a child safety seat properly and four failures to appear — were nothing unusual for municipal court. Nor were her fines of several thousand dollars.

But for Melissa, who had a low­-paying job and a husband in prison, and who looked like she hadn’t slept in days, that number might as well have been several million.

As a municipal judge in College Station, I see 10 to 12 defendants each day who were arrested on fine­-only charges: things like public intoxication, shoplifting, disorderly conduct and traffic offenses. Many of these people, like Melissa, have no money to pay their fines, let alone hire a lawyer.

What to do with these cases?

Continue reading “Why Judge Spillane refuses to send people to jail for failure to pay fines”