03.08.2010 Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches No Comments

Offenders With Warrants Can Avoid High Fines, Jail Times

Pastor Raymond Turner, founder of the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, tells Community Relations Officer Norm Nunez, Deputy Chief Ron Cochran and another member of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department administration about new programs his organization offers to the community. One of these new programs is an expansion of its existing Community Plea Program, which is now helping offenders at the Rancho Cucamonga Courthouse as well as San Bernardino. Photo by Chris Sloan

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) People who have failed to appear at the Rancho Cucamonga San Bernardino County Superior Courthouse for misdemeanors and lesser violations now have another option besides high fines and jail time.

The Inland Empire Concerned African Churches will debut its Community Plea Program at the Rancho Cucamonga Courthouse on Friday, Aug. 27. This program duplicates one the Inland Empire Concerned African Churches created for the San Bernardino Superior Courthouse six years ago that has already helped more than 600 people.

“People who have a misdemeanor or traffic violation and have failed to appear in court can work with us,” said Pastor Owusu Hodari, Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee for Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches. “We will go to court with them, and arrange with the Public Defender and District Attorney for them to do community service for a church instead of paying a fine.”

Offenders can perform their community service for any church approved by the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, which does not limit service to those that are part of the organization.

The Inland Empire Concerned African Americans Churches can work with most people who have failed to appear for misdemeanors and violations at either the Rancho Cucamonga or San Bernardino courthouses. The San Bernardino County District Attorney and the Public Defender must approve all the clients before they appear.

People who are arrested on their Failure to Appear warrant, anyone else not coming to court voluntarily to clear their case, anyone accused of a felony or violent offense, and those the District Attorney deems a repeat, serious, or non-cooperative offender are not eligible.

The Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches takes the cases it is representing to the San Bernardino Courthouse on the third Friday of every month, and will take them to the Rancho Cucamonga Courthouse on the fourth Friday of every month.

To receive assistance from the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, eligible offenders must contact the organization by calling (909) 474-7036 and leaving a message. The Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches can help offenders the same month, provided they call no later than the first Friday of the month if appearing in San Bernardino, and no later than the second Friday of the month if appearing in Rancho Cucamonga.

To be eligible for assistance when the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches begins in Rancho Cucamonga, offenders must contact the organization no later than Friday, Aug. 13.

San Bernardino County Public Defender Doreen Boxer, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos and the judges and clerks of San Bernardino County Superior Court are co-sponsors of this program.

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