Improved system nets Natchez back court fines

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2000

A better system for routing court fines to the right place will make city officials happy, said Municipal Judge John Tipton.

The new efforts may end the delay in collecting court fines from city cases appealed to Adams County Court, Tipton said. This is good for his court and for the City of Natchez.

&uot;If we’re a couple weeks late getting the money over to the city they’re always calling,&uot; Tipton said while stressing the importance of the court fines money to the City of Natchez.

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Because of improved communication with the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office, the City of Natchez recently received around $6,000 it was due in court fines — some of which dated back to cases as old as 1997. The staff at the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office has been working over the past year to locate the funds — much of which had never been collected from court defendants.

&uot;We are very pleased that in the last seven months we’ve been able to collect and return to the City of Natchez city fines that were collected,&uot; said Adams County Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot;&160;Vines.

Defendants who lost their appeals from Natchez Municipal Court to Adams County Court generated the fines, Vines said. If those defendants are sentenced to pay fines some of the money is due back to Natchez Municipal Court, he said.

&uot;We have been working with (County) Judge (John) Hudson, and we have been able to collect these fines, and we are very pleased with that,&uot; Vines said.

In the future, courthouse employees will be monitoring the collection of fines more closely, Vines said. Collections owed the city now are up to date, he said.

Tipton said his court recently received two checks from the circuit clerk’s office, one for $4,200 and another for $2,000. Prior to receiving those checks, Tipton said &uot;I know we hadn’t been receiving (the money) for several months, which was unusual.&uot;

In the future, Vines said his office is going to make extra effort to collect other unpaid court fines.

Court workers have already collected about $98,000 in Adams County Circuit Court, fines, restitution and court costs.

Vines said he plans to work towards collecting another $700,000 in uncollected that stem from about 400 additional cases.

People who owe the court money will receive letters from the court giving them 30 days to pay, Vines said.

&uot;In January, (the collections are) going to be the number one focusing point in this office,&uot; Vines said.