Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that he would dismiss approximately 100,000 open summons warrants to allow “thousands of New Yorkers to move on with their lives.”
All of the dismissed summons’are 10 years or older and were issued for failure to pay a ticket for a minor infraction. Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also followed suit, resulting in nearly 700,000 open warrants being dismissed.
“The prosecution of thousands of ten year old and older summons part cases would pose serious factual and legal challenges,” Brown said in a statement. “The NYPD has vetted the list and excluded the most flagrant violators who may still be prosecuted if apprehended. We believe the people of Queens County will be better served by focusing our resources on more serious offenses.”
The people whose warrants were dismissed have not been arrested in the last 10 years and the warrants were issued for reasons such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking beer in public, disorderly conduct and being in a park after dark.
In total, there are about 1.5 million open summons warrants in the city. Individuals who have open summons warrants are subject to automatic arrest if they are questioned by police on the street or at a traffic stop. They also stop individuals from being able to apply for citizenship, to get a job or secure public housing and subject undocumented immigrants to deportation.
The court proceedings to dismiss the warrants will take place throughout August.