Show up or surrender: Deputies inform 60-year-old Modesto woman of decades-old warrant

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MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — It wasn’t the threat of arrest outlined in a letter from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department that Glenda Scott says she feared the most — it was the potential exposure to COVID-19 by showing up to court in an effort to clear her name.

“When I got the letter, I was scared to death. I was just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I have a scar in my lung. I have bronchitis. And I’m 60 years old,” she said.

Scott says she received a letter from the sheriff’s department claiming there’s a warrant for her arrest for a 1991 charge of driving without a license.

“I didn’t even know what the charges was,” Scott said.

She was given two options — show up to court or surrender. Instead, she contacted Modesto attorney Tai Bogan.

“These people are innocent until proven guilty and under the constitution, they have a right to a speedy trial,” Bogan said.

Bogan says, at first, he thought it was a scam until he heard from at least six people.

“We’re not trying to hide the 8-ball here. We’re not trying to surprise people,” sheriff’s department spokesman Sergeant Luke Schwartz said.

The sheriff’s office confirmed these letters came from them.

“The sheriff is just trying to practice due diligence and making sure that these cases, instead of collecting dust somewhere, that they’re addressed and are properly adjudicated,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz says they’ve been sending out these letters since June. So far, they’ve sent out about 100 of them.

“So that warrant’s outstanding. It doesn’t go away. It has to be addressed by the person who was alleged to commit a crime,” Schwartz said.

Bogan says the sheriff’s office should have been more proactive

“These people should have been getting letters in 1991, 1992,” Bogan said. “The sheriff should go to their office and knock on their door, knock, knock, knock — ‘Um, hey, you have a warrant,’ but they didn’t do that.”

Scott says she’s at least comforted that Bogan will fight for her as she continues her fight for better health.

“I don’t know mentally how much more I can take and that’s being perfectly honest,” she said.

Bogan says he has reached out to the district attorney’s office, the court and the sheriff’s office so that they may collaborate to find a better solution.

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