ASKED & ANSWERED: Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller on Amnesty Program on Facebook

 By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

 

The Wayne County 36th District Court began an amnesty program on April 7 that allows citizens to settle their traffic tickets and other fines without paying late fees or facing jail time.  Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller decided to spread the word the modern way — via social media. The response was impressive and the revenue collected since her high-tech outreach is mounting.

 

Thorpe: When and how did you decide that an approach like this might be effective?

Miller:  As soon as I saw the Administrative Order, I knew I needed to put it out on Facebook. Social media is a highly effective tool for the broad and fast dissemination of information.

 

Thorpe: What information did you include in your initial Facebook post? How many users shared it with others?

Miller:  I included a brief explanation of the Amnesty Program and implored citizens to “Just walk in! Spread the word! Stop driving dirty!”  I also provided a copy of the Administrative Order signed by Chief Judge Blount. Thus far, the post has been shared 3,488 times and according to Facebook, it has been seen by 88,224 people.   

 

Thorpe: I understand that you got full support and rave reviews from your fellow members of the bench, including both the chief judge and the special judicial administrator, for your effort. Tell us about that.

Miller:  I first heard from the security personnel about the large number of people walking in stating: “I saw Judge Miller’s Facebook post.” Then I heard from the administration that they had received a slew of calls about my Facebook post. Finally, a member of our legal team sent the Michigan Lawyers Weekly article to me and I was very pleased to read SJA Judge Talbot and Chief Judge Blount’s comments and to learn about the impact of my post.

 

Thorpe: How is the amnesty program doing so far with its goal of recovering fines?

Miller:  Looking at the traffic, long lines, and numbers reported thus far, it appears that we are doing quite well. While I am happy about that, I am also very pleased about the number of people who are resolving their matters and enabling themselves to obtain a valid driver’s license once again. That is great for them and all of us because it lowers the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road.

 

Thorpe: When does the amnesty program end and where online might a reader be able to follow its progress?

Miller:  The Amnesty Program will end on May 2, 2014. The court may post updates on our website — www.36thdistrictcourt.org.

 

Thorpe: What other information on the court might Facebook users find on the page? How can they find it?

Miller:  I have posted information regarding:  1) the Court’s Walk-In Program, which will resume when the Amnesty Program ends; 2) the Civil Infractions Pre-Hearing program, which allows people to be able to resolve pending Civil Infractions without having to see a Judge and without points; and 3) the Administrative Order issued in December 2013, which dismissed certain cases that were issued before July 1, 2006.  My Facebook page is:  Friends of Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller.  

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