Yakima County District Court is implementing the Warrant Recall Program. We are doing so in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Court operations have been severely disrupted because of the pandemic. While the Court has been successful in keeping our operation moving albeit on a limited basis at times, there have been some unforeseen and uncontrollable impacts on the court system. One of those impacts was the necessary imposition of booking restrictions in correctional facilities. The continued impact of that change was that warrants were not able to be served. The Court’s expectation is that when the booking restrictions are lifted those warrants will be served which will result in a greater influx of cases into a system that is already backlogged due to the pandemic. Moreover, there has no doubt been confusion about how to access the court system during the pandemic in part due to the many changes that have been made to the court schedules. And we know that some defendants had concerns about their health and safety in coming into a courtroom setting during the pandemic.
To be proactive about this issue, the District Court has created the Warrant Recall Program. For a limited time, defendants with an outstanding bench warrant in Yakima County District Court, Union Gap Municipal Court, or Grandview Municipal Court can have their warrants quashed through the Warrant Recall Program. Defendants can request to have their cases scheduled on a specific day, appear in court either in-person or via Zoom and the Judge will recall the warrant and set a new court date. If the defendant fails to appear at their next court hearing, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. There will be no requirement that the defendant post bail or pay a warrant fee. And they will not be arrested on the outstanding warrant. If the defendant has warrants in other jurisdictions, the Court will provide them with the information about the warrant, the contact information for the Court and encourage them to address the matter before they return for their next hearing.
This program will be available for a limited time, from April to September 2021. As we now start to migrate to more normal court activity and schedules, it is the hope through the Warrant Recall Program, that we can get defendants back into court quickly and continue their cases moving forward. For more information about the Warrant Recall Program please visit the District Court website: https://www.yakimacounty.us/2541/Warrant-Recall-Program or call the Warrant Recall Program message line at 509-574-1806.