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Are You A Jersey Fugitive? You Can Turn Yourself In Tomorrow [AUDIO]

Fugitives from justice in the Garden state have the opportunity to turn themselves in tomorrow – with the promise of getting favorable treatment from the court if they do.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says the program – New Jersey Fugitive Safe Surrender “is designed for people who have outstanding warrants over a period of time, and have them unresolved – this is the last chance we’re gonna have in New Jersey for them to resolve the warrants in a way that’s going to put them in the best position to resolve it simply.”

He says the overwhelming number of people who show up to participate in the program leave the same day – not get locked up in jail – “and they’ll leave with a sense of having really cleared up something that may be lingering over them – that will come up at some point down the road…our message is why not take advantage of this program, come in, resolve it, and move on with your life.”

Chiesa points out the program is for “non-violent offenders who have had some incident – whatever that incident may be – family dispute, it could be traffic summons , it could be some other kind of summons…but it can’t be someone with any kind of immigration issue – we’re not equipped to handle those kinds of cases…both prosecutors and judges there to for people to meet with and resolve these cases- I think the last time it was done, less than ½ of 1 percent of the people that surrendered – were detained the same day.”

The program will operate on Saturday, April 21, 2012 and Monday, April 23, 2012 through Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at Grace Assembly of God Church, 201 Atlantic Avenue, in Atlantic City. Individuals will be able to turn themselves in at the church from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. Their cases will be adjudicated at temporary courtrooms a few blocks away.

An estimated 25 hundred fugitives are expected to turn themselves during the four-day event. A total of more than 10 thousand fugitives surrendered during the first three New Jersey Fugitive Safe Surrender events: Fugitive Safe Surrender-Camden in 2008 (2,245 fugitives surrendered); Fugitive Safe Surrender-Newark in 2009 (4,103 surrendered); and Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Central Region in 2010 (3,901 fugitives surrendered).

Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program, but does offer favorable consideration from the court, often in the form of reduced fines or probation requirements instead of incarceration. Individuals wanted for violent crimes, or with previous convictions for violent crimes, may also surrender; however, those wanted for violent crimes are more likely to be taken into custody. At Fugitive Safe Surrender sites nationwide, only two percent of people that surrendered were taken into custody because the vast majority of those who turn themselves in are wanted for non-violent offenses and have no history of violence.

The initiative is only open to U.S. citizens, legal residents or those who lawfully in the United States. Individuals who are not in the United States lawfully are not eligible to participate.

More detailed information about Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey in English and Spanish, as well as video statements from law enforcement officials and from individuals who surrendered at previous Fugitive Safe Surrender events, can be found on their website. Information can also be found on Facebook.

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