Monday, February 11, 2013

Outstanding warrant, but Smith not arrested

On Friday Kimberly Smith was a no-show in Judge Prather's court, and Judge Prather issued a warrant with a $25,000 bond.

Kimberly didn't turn herself in over the week-end, and no deputy managed to find her anywhere. How are warrants prioritized at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Surely, every deputy and every warrants deputy would have known of this warrant.

Where was Kimberly Smith at 9:00AM today? Seated in Judge Prather's courtroom. How did she get into the courthouse without being arrested at the entrance?

And why wasn't a deputy waiting for her at the courtroom door?

I recall a recent case with another person who had had appearances in two courtrooms one morning. She went to one and missed the other. I told her there would be a warrant for her, and there was. When she showed up at the courthouse for a scheduled hearing, a deputy was waiting in the hallway outside the courtroom and arrested her. The deputy took her into custody and to the jail, where she had to post her new bond before she could go back next door to the courtroom!

That case was not nearly as serious as Kimberly Smith's case. So why didn't deputies at the MCSD put on their thinking caps and figure out how to take Smith into custody?

In the courtroom this morning I informed the Court Security Officer that there was a person in the courtroom with an outstanding warrant. He responded that she was on the court calendar.

At any point Smith could have just walked out. She could have said she had to use a restroom and left the building. Aww, no, that never happens. If there is a warrant out for someone, they will just show up and stay seated. Sure ...

I also informed an assistant state's attorney, who informed his boss, who was also in the courtroom. Yet no action was taken to place Smith in custody, even temporarily.

Smith's attorney asked Judge Prather to quash the warrant, which the judge did.

On the one hand, it saved the defendant some money (and cost the court some money) by handling it this way. On the other hand, not all persons for whom there are outstanding warrants are treated the same. Why not?

Can anyone quote the language in the Warrant by which the Court commands law enforcement personnel to take the subject of the warrant into custody? Seems to me that it's not optional and doesn't exclude the courthouse or even the judge's courtroom. They should have grabbed her when she entered through the west entrance this morning.

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