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Hundreds get chance at clean slate in Oklahoma City warrant clearing

A sign says "Warrant Clearing: Enter Here"
Cait Kelley
/
KOSU

On Saturday, people of all ages started lining up outside the Oklahoma City nonprofit Diversion Hub as early as 7:30 a.m., in anticipation of an opportunity to clear their warrants.

This is the fifth time the nonprofit has hosted an event to help residents clear their misdemeanor and local warrants. These kinds of warrants can be issued for probation violations, failure to pay fines, traffic violations, and other misdemeanors.

Many people don’t know exactly what’s on their record until a chance encounter with law enforcement. Diversion Hub designed this event to help people avoid that uncertainty and move forward through the legal process.

Dale Edwards, a Case Management Supervisor at Diversion Hub, helped manage the event. He said warrants for minor offenses or unpaid fines can hold people back from accessing resources like support to find housing or a new job.

“That's why we do what we do,” he said. “Clear that out the way so they can move forward and get everything that they need.”

At the event, public defenders, municipal court officials and district judges were available to help attendees understand their records, pay outstanding fees, set up payment plans and schedule new court dates. But the atmosphere outside the meeting rooms was more like a block party than a courtroom — attendees and their families enjoyed snacks, music and games while they waited in the hot sun.

Rocky Conway has been using Diversion Hub’s legal support services for about a month. His case manager invited him to the warrant clearing.

“Not only am I taking care of things that can haunt me later,” he said. “I'm also learning that there's all kinds of services out there that I never even was aware of.”

Conway said he hopes by this time next year, his landscaping company will be off the ground, and he’ll be helping young people avoid the mistakes he’s made.


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Cait Kelley is a summer intern at KOSU through the Scripps Howard Fund summer internship program.
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