minutia press.

In this morning's paper, there was a story about people who are wanted for robbery, for whom no warrant is issued. These people are sometimes stopped by police in other states, but since no warrant is outstanding, they're let go and not brought to justice for their crimes. The city (St. Louis) has some rule about having to question somebody before a warrant is issued. If the person in question doesn't show up for the hearing, no warrant, no nothing.

Meanwhile, in this same city, if somebody has a traffic ticket, and owes the city money, a warrant is issued, and the person is not only picked up, but thrown into jail until the ticket and all the outstanding fines are paid, sometimes involving thousands of dollars for just a few tickets. This is done if the person is deemed a flight risk and might not pay up.

Why are the rules so different for simple traffic tickets (non registration, speeding) as compared with real crime (robbery)? In one case, the city benefits from having the tickets paid. In the other case, the victim of the robbery could have a measure of justice.