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No court dates for Wilderness Park citation recipients

All 310 Wilderness Park citations issued to those who violated park hours within the past month will no longer require recipients to go to trial, according to City Manager Jeff Parker.

Claremont police originally presented city council with a series of options to handle a dramatic increase in Wilderness Park citations at a special meeting held Thursday, September 1.

Pomona court officials raised concerns about the overflow of citations in Claremont, and the backlog it would create for the court system. City council decided to uphold the citations, despite outcry for their dismissals, in order to set a precedent for the city.

However, following the meeting, Chief of Police Paul Cooper spoke with Pomona court officials who agreed to allow all citation recipients to pay the $35 without the need of a trial.

Originally, the 205 citations previously filed would have required recipients to appear in court. In addition to the $35 municipal fee, violators would have to pay state fees accrued from going to trial, costing up to $200, according to Chief Cooper.  The additional 105 citations which had not yet been filed were only required to pay the $35 municipal fee without having to appear in court.

Changes in court laws over the past year, in conjunction with the way the tickets were processed, would have required the trials despite sentiment from Claremont officials that the punishment was too harsh for the nature of the ticket.

“The fine really doesn’t fit the violation here. Our intent was to file them as misdemeanors,” Chief Cooper said at the meeting.

The 205 who have already received a letter notifying them to appear in court will soon receive another letter excusing them, said Chief Parker. Those cited will still be required to pay the $35 fee the city.

—Beth Hartnett

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