Criminal Justice

Fugitives Surrender at Church

The fellowship hall doubled as a legal complex last week at the Galilee Missionary Baptist church in Nashville.

Fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants turned themselves in at the church, where they conferred with a public defender and then went before a judge, the New York Times reports. Often the judge dismissed the warrant, but he set new court dates for felony cases. About three dozen defendants wanted for serious crimes were jailed.

The U.S. Marshals Service sponsored the four-day program, dubbed Fugitive Safe Surrender. The service has sponsored four similar programs in the last two years, getting about 4,000 people to surrender, including about 550 in Nashville.

Jerice Bryant was among those who surrendered. She had an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license.

“I was going to go turn myself in at the courthouse, but then I heard about this,” she told the Times. “I felt more comfortable turning myself in at a church.”

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