Nacogdoches County finds new way to take care of outstanding warrants

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Each Tuesday, it's not uncommon to catch someone being cuffed outside Nacogodoches County Court-at-Law.

Defendants show up for one offense and can get arrested for another.

"In the last four months we've cleared up approximately 185 warrants," County Attorney John Fleming said.

The crackdown on outstanding warrants came when courthouse workers were asked to come up with innovative ways to work more efficiently and cost effectively.

Shortly afterward, Billie Tillis had her ah-ha moment.

"That's possibly part of it, but the other part was when we obtained Spillman," Tillis said.

That's the county's new computer program that makes cross-checking easier than before.

"Where it will show whether they are active, what cases it is, if they've been served or if they need to be served," Tillis said.

One defendant has 10 outstanding warrants including one for cocaine possession. How can so many go un-served?

"This is not the only avenue that we have on serving the warrant," Fleming said. "We're continuing to go to people's houses, places of employment, anywhere else we can find."

Constable William Sowell and his deputies gladly help out each week with the arrests.

But when arrests are made at court, constables have the advantage of familiar territory and security checks.

"We've had a lot of warrants cleared up since we started this program and it's growing by leaps and bounds," Bailiff Donald Miller said.

And not everyone is hauled off to jail. Word is spreading. More defendants are taking care of business before showing up to court. Others pay their fines the same day.

Some of the defendants with outstanding warrants don't show up to court. That's a bad decision.  Another warrant is issued for a higher degree of criminal offense and jail time is a certainty.