MUNCY - During a 24-hour period, the office of District Judge Jon E. Kemp took in a record $20,000 from 44 people who had defaulted on their fines.
The collection was the result, in large part, of a surprise "round-up" held Thursday night when constables and other officers fanned out throughout the county and brought in people who were way behind in money they owed the court.
"Ninety-four warrants were served all day, about 80 of them after 5 p.m.," Kemp said.
Kemp, who began serving office in January 2012, said his surprised night court session was "a very successful effort" to collect money from people who had basically ignored their fiscal responsibility to pay their fines.
An estimated $13,700 was collected on Thursday, "a little more than $10,000 of that amount after 5 p.m.," Kemp said.
An additional $6,445 was collected on Friday morning, including $2,652 alone from a woman constables brought in Thursday and who was jailed overnight because of money she owed on fines for dog law and truancy violations, some dating back to 2009.
The woman was one of six people incarcerated because of defaulting on their fines, Kemp said, adding that three of those jailed were released the next day after paying in full what was owed.
Six constables, along with police officers from Muncy, Muncy Township and Hughesville took part in the round-up. Montgomery police handled emergency calls for communities whose officers were busy taking people into custody, Kemp said.
He said his office Thursday night was "jammed packed" with those involved in the round-up.
Most of the people were far behind on fines that were due for such summary violations as disorderly conduct, bad checks, public drunkenness and traffic violations, Kemp said.
A number of people were brought in because they had failed to respond to summons sent to them. Many pleaded guilty to various violations and were set up on payment plans, Kemp said.
"I was very pleased with the cooperation the court received from everyone involved," Kemp said. He expressed gratitude for the dedication shown by the law enforcement officers involved and, as well, as his office staff for making sure things ran smoothly.
During the five-hour round-up, Kemp, who was the on-duty district judge for the county, also arraigned two men on criminal charges - a New Yorker caught stealing merchandise at a Loyalsock Township department store and an area resident arrested on assault charges.
In late November, District Judge Gary A. Whiteman held a similar surprise "night court" session at his Loyalsock Township office. He said then that through such efforts, he was sending out a message to the community that ignoring one's fines will have consequences.