Hennepin County to give minors chance to handle outstanding warrants at 'forgiveness' event

This Saturday, the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center will give minors with outstanding warrants a chance to handle their case.

This Saturday, the Hennepin County Court System is holding its first-ever juvenile warrant forgiveness event.

It's an opportunity for anyone with an outstanding juvenile warrant to wipe their record clean. For four hours, at the former Thor building in north Minneapolis, the court system forgiving non-felony juvenile warrants, on the spot.

"On the first floor, there will be intake there, just like in any courthouse," explained Juvenile Court Judge Mark Kappelhoff. "And you’ll meet a court staff. You’ll get assigned an attorney. The public defender’s office will be there representing the youth."

Judge Kappelhoff says the event, which includes partnerships with more than 40 community and government organizations, comes without fear of arrest.

"I do see children in need that come into this court every day and it’s really important that we provide the services and provide them the opportunity to survive," added the judge.

In Hennepin County, there's estimated to be roughly 700 outstanding juvenile warrants. These are low-level offenses, misdemeanors, for crimes such as shoplifting and disorderly conduct.

"What we’re trying to do is improve our processing that kind of meets the youth where they are to ensure that they come to court more frequently," said Judge Kappelhoff. "On a regular basis, that’s the goal ultimately, to improve our processes."

And bridge what Judge Kappelhoff sometimes sees as a divide.

"One aspect of this that I think is really important is the notion of the court system," he said. "The justice system building trust with the community. I think that this is an enormous step in that effort."

Public defenders will be on hand to resolve cases or schedule new court dates. The event could result in some sanctions such as community service. Doors open Saturday morning at 10 at the former Thor building on Plymouth and Penn.