FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Announces 4th Begin Again Event
Community Initiative That Has Helped Thousands of New Yorkers
Clear Open Summons Warrants
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that his office will host its fourth Begin Again event—a summons warrant adjudication initiative—aimed at helping residents address their open summons matters and clear the staggering backlog of warrants in the New York City summons court system. The event will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, located at 1405 Bushwick Avenue, in Bushwick.
District Attorney Thompson said, “Through Begin Again, we have helped thousands of New Yorkers and resolved many outstanding summonses. We are committed to giving the people of Brooklyn a new start and doing all that we can to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities that we serve.”
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “Too many young people and people of color are unfairly ensnared in the legal system because of outstanding warrants and summonses related to minor infractions. I have seen firsthand how the Begin Again program helps New Yorkers achieve a clean slate so they can move on with their lives. I applaud DA Thompson for continuing to expand this important initiative.”
Council Member Antonio Reynoso said, “People of all demographics suffer from the negative consequences associated with outstanding warrants and summonses related to minor infractions. Begin Again offers New Yorkers a second chance to positively contribute to the community without limitations imposed by these sanctions. I want to thank DA Thompson for bringing this program to Bushwick and encourage my constituents to participate.”
Council Member Rafael Espinal said, “Begin Again is such an important event for the residents of Brooklyn. It gives people an opportunity to resolve any outstanding minor summonses and warrants while at the same time helping ease the overwhelming backlog of cases in our city’s courts. It is my hope that Brooklynites with open warrants will take advantage of these services so that they can start fresh and get a new lease on life.”
Previously, Begin Again has been held in Clinton Hill, East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The District Attorney’s Office is partnering with the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society and the New York City Police Department to once again provide on-site legal counsel and give New Yorkers a chance to clear their outstanding warrants.
Individuals who appear for Begin Again will first consult with on-site attorneys from the Legal Aid Society to make sure only eligible summons warrants are heard. All participants will then enter a makeshift courtroom, where a judge will be on hand to address the outstanding summons and bench warrants that resulted from the failure to respond to summonses for a multitude of low-level offenses, including walking a dog without a leash or being in a park after closing.
There are over one million open summons warrants citywide. These summons warrants, when left unresolved, carry a number of negative consequences including impeding one’s ability to apply for citizenship, secure employment or obtain public housing.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is committed to keeping Brooklyn safe and fair for all and will continue to expand its Begin Again event to other locations throughout the borough in the future.