By Joyce May
Killeen Daily Herald
More than $4 million in outstanding court costs, fines and fees dating back to 1991 are owed to the city of Copperas Cove, and efforts are being stepped up to collect them.
According to Municipal Court officials, as of the end of April, there were 21,311 outstanding warrants for Class C misdemeanor violations, such as some traffic offenses, bad check issuances, public intoxication and disorderly conduct – with $4,575,430 outstanding.
In an effort to increase compliance with the court-ordered payments, people with outstanding warrants in Copperas Cove will soon find their names published in the newspaper and listed on the city's Web site.
"A fine is not punishment until it is paid," said Municipal Court Judge Bill Price. "The importance of it is that our laws deserve respect. A fine that is imposed and then not paid indicates that the person has a general lack of respect for the law. We punish people for violating our laws."
He said that it is the obligation of the court to enforce those laws when people are found guilty of violations, and he is encouraging people to take care of their business.
"The purpose is to let people know that not paying your fines is a crime that can get you put in jail," Price said. "If they have these outstanding charges, it is much, much better for them to come to us than for us to go visit them because that entails a police officer and embarrassment and that kind of thing."
The judge said the name-publishing campaign is an invitation to the public to let the court know where these people are as well as a reminder for those who may have forgotten.
"Some people have the idea that no one will go to jail for not paying the fines and that is not correct," Price said. "They need to take care of their business."
Residents who have outstanding warrants or suspect they might may contact Copperas Cove Municipal Court at (254) 547-0220 or (254) 547-9524. The court is located at 602 S. Main St.
Contact Joyce May at email@example.com