Skip to main content

The LAPD May Dismiss Old Bench Warrants for the City's Homeless Population

In an attempt to break the cycle of penalization and criminalization that plagues Los Angeles' homeless population, the city's police department may allow for the elimination of old bench warrants, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The plan, currently under consideration by the Los Angeles Police Department, would essentially toss out warrants for homeless people who don't show up in court for minor offenses. These bench warrants lead to hundreds of arrests every day, the Times reports. According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, those arrests create a burden on courts and jails.

The offenses in question mostly involve so-called "quality-of-life" laws, such as sleeping on sidewalks or low-level drug possession. Fines for such offenses typically range from $100 to $300. Moore told the Times the LAPD will not be changing how it polices these crimes; the plan would simply provide amnesty on outstanding bench warrants.