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Posted on Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Court amnesty program on certain tickets will 'give the public a break'

By Kyle Feldscher

If you got a parking ticket in Chelsea or a speeding ticket in Ypsilanti Township sometime in 2011 and you’re pretty sure there’s a warrant for your arrest because you never paid up, don’t worry.

No, seriously, don’t worry. The 14A and 14B District Courts have your back.

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The courts will run an amnesty program through March and April, forgiving late fees and penalties on traffic and parking tickets before Dec. 31, 2011. file photo

The courts will run an amnesty program through March and April, forgiving late fees and penalties on traffic and parking tickets before Dec. 31, 2011.

14A District Court Administrator Bob Ciolek said it’s the first time the courts have run such a program. The program will run from March 1 to April 30. All penalties and late fees for unpaid traffic civil infractions and parking violations will be forgiven, aside from the $45 clearance fee for people whose driver’s licenses have been suspended.

“We’re trying to give them an opportunity to take care of any outstanding matters they may have and give the public a break in the tough economic times we’re experiencing,” Ciolek said.

The ticket must have been issued by an agency under the jurisdiction of the 14A District Courts or the 14B District Court in Ypsilanti Township. The amnesty program does not apply to any tickets issued in 2012 or 2013.

Ciolek said he pitched the idea to 14A District Court Chief Judge Kirk Tabbey and get it cleared by him and District Court Judge Richard Conlin. Both judges thought it to be a good idea, but Ciolek said it might be a special occurrence.

“It’s not something, as a court, you want to run every year, every two years, every three years,” he said. “If you’re gonna do it on multiple occasions, they’re going to be spaced out far, far apart.”

The principle penalty on the tickets will still need to be paid, so no one will be getting away scot free on their traffic infractions. However, every financial penalty subsequent to the initial fines and costs will be waived, Ciolek said.

Ciolek brought the idea to the 14A District Court from his former job as a court administrator in Taylor. He said his court there ran an amnesty program and it generated revenue for the court.

“We ran one out there and it was very successful, giving people a break on tickets and generating revenue, that sort of thing,” he said. “I liked the concept of the whole thing. I brought the idea here about a year or so ago.”

It’s a sort of win-win situation for everybody, Ciolek said. Not only will the public have fines and penalties waived if they pay their tickets, the courts will be able to clear many cases as they convert to a new filing system.

For more information on the program, call the 14A-1 District Court in Pittsfield Township at 734-973-4545, the 14A-2 District Court in Ypsilanti at 734-484-6690, the 14A-3 District Court in Chelsea at 734-475-8606, the 14A-4 District Court in Saline at 734-429-2504 or the 14B district Court in Ypsilanti Township at 734-483-1333.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

"No, seriously, don't worry. The 14A and 14B District Courts have your back." -- Haha, love it. Also, it seems like the program, if they can get the word out, saves money in two ways: enforcement and fines.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Translation: "Hey - anybody seen that box of records from 2011?"

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

How can there possibly be an amnesty given that the police no longer patrol our streets? They've vanished and along with the police having disappeared the number of traffic violations is up considerably.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

why not 2012tickets?

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

what kind of break do the responsible people get that paid theirs like they we were supposed to?


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

I agree and I have not had a ticket in 30 years.

Basic Bob

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

They don't have to cover the cost of unpaid tickets, unnecessary arrests, and prosecution of petty crimes. Thanks for doing the right thing, citizen.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

This is a good idea for only one reason. There are an ridiculous number of drivers with warrants out of these two courts driving around the county. A good number of these people in the future are going to have some sort of police contact (eg. another traffic stop) and subsequently be taken in on warrants which tie up the court system and cost the tax payers way more money than we will ever recoup in fines or tickets fees.

simply amazed

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Johnnya2, please note that fine amnesty is for traffic civil infractions and parking fines. Nobody said anything about selling drugs to kids. Last I checked, that is not a traffic offense.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 11:16 p.m.

So you reward criminal behavior? What if the fine is for selling drugs to kids? I guess since it costs the taxpayers money we should just let it go. Logic fail. The peopel who are tooo stupi dor lazy to pay their tickets should get their cars towed and see what that will cost them in late fees and paying the towing company. I'd also like to see the late payments put on a persons credit report. THEN we will start to see people pay their freaking bills.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

So what this tells that they're hurting for cash from all the "money" tickets they've written that people refuse to pay on because they really don't have to...because civil infractions aren't crimes. What do you expect when your department writes an inordinate amount of tickets STRICTLY for revenue purposes?


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

Seems to me IF they were writing tickets for the money they would enforce/track down the scofflaws and make them pay ALL the penalties!

Matt Cooper

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

Billy apparently doesn't know that too many unpaid parking tickets will get your license suspended. Oh, and..."writes an inordinate amount of tickets STRICTLY for revenue purposes?" seems to me that if you don't want to get tickets, regardless of what you think their reasons are for ticketing you (just to harass YOU, or revenue purposes, just for grins and giggles, etc)...don't park illegally. Just a thought.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

@Billy Would you care to disclose how many tickets you have had in the last 10 years? I think that would shed much light on your bias post!


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Scofflaws and abusers of the laws always seem to raise the issue of revenue generation. It would be a better world if every parking violator or speeder was ticketed/punished. No 5-over, no I'll-only-be-aminute. And do not block sidewalks or drive the wrong-way just for fun/convenience. .


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Hey Bill, you just won a million dollars in the Ann Arbor lottery! You can pick up your check in the basement level of the city hall. Just bring your ID. LOL. So if you get a new plate every couple of years, you stay a couple of steps ahead of Brewers towing? That's too easy.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Using an AAPD officer's photo with this article is incongruous with the court jurisdictions involved.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

If you know that you owe the money, why don't you go and pay it.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

How do you enforce the fines? I had three parking tickets in 2006 in Ann Arbor, and I never paid them off. The city never tracked me down, never threatened me with jail time, or anything. In the years since, I've had probably two tickets (paid them off right away). I was surprised after getting the ticket that my truck wasn't towed then and there.


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

Yes your drivers license could be yank. We got no privilege to drive but we do have this right to bear arms, makes a ton of sense.

Matt Cooper

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Billy, I'm wondering where you got your information about this 15 minute rule. On coin meters, how could a parking enforcement officer possibly know when the meter expired? And what would be the rationale for asking a cop to not ticket a car parked at an expired meter until 15 minutes after it expired anyway? If you park at 12 noon and pay for 1 hour, why should you instead get one hour and fifteen minutes? Finally, I disagree that the tickets are assigned to the car itself. They are written and physically attached to the car windshield wiper blade, certainly, but the plate number on the vehicle and included on the ticket (and thereby subject to being towed), and the driver and his/her driver license associated with that plate number, are the parties responsible for payment and/or towing costs and/or suspension of driver license if there's enough unpaid tickets outstanding. By your logic, I could have hundreds of parking tickets and yet if I sell the car I am no longer responsible for them, but rather the new owner is? How does this make even a shred of sense? Now, I'm not a cop nor an expert on Ann Arbor's parking laws and I could be completely wrong on this, but to me, your arguments make no sense. Can you cite a specific law that requires cops to wait until 15 minutes after the meter has expired (especially identifying how they could do this with coin meters)? Can you also cite a specific law that says the tickets are on the car and have no effect on the driver in terms of responsibility?

Matt Cooper

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Enough parking tickets will not only get your car towed, it can also get your driver license suspended. It is a priviledge (sp?) to drive, not a right.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Tickets are assigned to the vehicle itself. Everyone I know who've been towed for unpaid parking tickets (it's actually a bunch...I have several unpaid parking tickets myself) were always the car they got the tickets in. This is totally a discussion for another day though....the parking enforcement situation in Ann Arbor actually has a long and storied history of corruption. I mean how many cities do you know of that actually had to add a city ordinance at the behest of it citizens that made it illegal for police to write a ticket on any meter unless it's expired by at least 15 minutes?


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

I forget what the low bar is in this city, but 4-5 parking tickets will earn you a date with the towing company.