St. Louisans rush to take advantage of St. Louis warrant amnesty program

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Participation in the St. Louis city "warrant forgiveness" program has been slow, until Wednesday! The program ended at six o'clock tonight.   More than 1,200 people turned out today seeking forgiveness.

You had to take a number and wait, but waiting for about 20 minutes was worth it for peace of mind.

Calvin Shaw of north St. Louis County said, "I just wanted to take care of it so I don't have to look over my shoulder and none of that so I can be able to drive."

But the city has been waiting some time for more than 70,000 people to appear in court or face new warrants for minor traffic and other low level violations. Amnesty participant Neil Sharp of north St. Louis told us, "they issued a warrant for my arrest so I didn't have the money to pay them off so I lost my job so I think it’s pretty good they let us get a new court date.

Others showed up at the St. Louis City Municipal Court customer service room in downtown St. Louis just to make sure there was no warrant issued against them. "Actually I wasn't aware of this program and then I watched the news.  I just came down because I know my daughter had driven my car and I’m just checking to make sure, and I owe nothing!"

Many reasons were given for missing a court date including lack of money, unemployment and illness. But whatever the reason, the forgiveness was appreciated.    Greg Stewart of south St. Louis said, "no sense in starting all over in a new year and they following you getting pulled over, there goes your car and everything else.  So it’s a good thing they're giving back.  It's about time people started giving back."

So far just about 9,000 of the nearly 70,000 people eligible in the St. Louis warrant amnesty program have asked for a new court date.