‘Warrant court’ designed to stop defendants from skirting law in Philadelphia

A new court is open for business in Philadelphia beginning today. “Warrant court” is designed to send those who have not shown up for court directly to jail. 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery says too often those facing charges circumvent their day in court and that upsets crime victims.

“We’re really fed up hearing victims of crime coming into the system leaving frustrated when defendants fail to show up and nothing happens to their case,” said McCaffery. “So often we hear victims saying, ‘I’m just not coming back. I’m fed up. This case has been continued too many times. The individuals are not showing up, so we’re not coming back.'” 

McCaffery says the special warrant court is designed to deal with those who skip court dates.

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“This is something that we can no longer tolerate,” he said. “If it necessitates putting people in jail, that is the risk they take.

“You sign a subpoena, you guarantee your appearance in court.  If you don’t show up, absent a reasonable explanation, you are going to jail,” he said.

McCaffery says those who surrender voluntarily will be given a new court date, but those who are caught and brought before the judge will go to jail.

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