TO: All Summary Court Judges
Clerks of Courts
FROM:     Robert L. McCurdy
RE:    Photocopies of Arrest Warrants; Lost Warrants
DATE:    April 24, 2002

We have received information that certified photocopies of arrest warrants have been filed by the summary courts with the clerks of court of general sessions. This is being done when the original warrant has been lost or misplaced. Please do not make photocopies of arrest warrants in this situation. The only circumstance that this office recommends photocopies of arrest warrants is for the purpose of conducting preliminary hearings. Photocopying arrest warrants creates the risk of double service on the same defendant, and is strongly discouraged.

If, after service, an arrest warrant is lost or misplaced, the first action this office recommends is a diligent search for the lost document. If the search fails, please follow the procedure outlined below.

  1. Void the lost arrest warrant;

  2. Issue a replacement warrant with a new warrant number; include a statement in the body of the replacement warrant that the original arrest warrant (include warrant #) has been lost;

  3. Serve the replacement warrant on the defendant; depending upon the circumstances, you may wish to contact the defendant and give him the opportunity to come in to the office for service;

  4. Any other paperwork associated with the lost warrant should likewise be reissued;

  5. If the original warrant is later found, clearly mark the document "cancelled due to loss" on its face, and include the replacement warrant number;

  6. For those courts that are computerized, the notations cited above should be placed in the notes section of the warrant tracking program.

Should you have any questions, please contact this office.