In this episode of “Actually,” Judge Ed Spillane talks about how the College Station Municipal Court goes to great lengths to make sure citizens aren’t prosecuted due to their economic status. Continue reading Video: “Actually…” with Judge Ed Spillane
The first warrant amnesty period of 2020 for the City of College Station and Brazos County starts Monday and runs through Feb. 28. If you have an outstanding warrant, you can avoid paying a $50 per case warrant fee if you pay the fine in full. During the warrant roundup Feb. 29-March 8, city marshals, police officers, reserve police officers, and constables will arrest those who haven’t paid their fines. Continue reading Warrant amnesty helps you save money, avoid jail
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?
By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director
College Station Municipal Court Judge Ed Spillane doesn’t want you to go to jail. If you run afoul of the law, he just wants you to come to court so the best-case scenario can be worked out.
In this edition of the podcast, Judge Spillane talks about why he offers a warrant amnesty period. He also describes the toughest cases he sees, some of the biggest misconceptions about the court, and his many experiences with “helicopter parents.”
As a municipal court judge, I see many young defendants who are in court for the first time. My job is to make sure these juveniles don’t appear again in my court, or any other. Starting next week, recent legislative changes will affect the type of cases we see.
Class C Offenses
Citations can no longer be issued for Class C offenses (other than traffic) that occur on school property and involve defendants between 10 and 16 years old. The most common tickets in any school are for class disruption, disorderly conduct or inappropriate language. A witness with knowledge must now sign an affidavit, and a complaint approved by the prosecutor must be filed in court before the police can file charges.
Here are five items to watch when the College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings: Continue reading “Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings”