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Huntsville woman forced to wait weeks to file arrest warrant for alleged attacker

"There has to be some kind of process where this can be a little bit faster."

Posted: Oct 26, 2021 9:22 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2021 4:45 PM

One local woman is pushing for her alleged attacker to be arrested. The only problem is, she is still waiting on a warrant.

If a victim wants to see someone arrested for a misdemeanor, which is what police say this case is, they have to make an appointment with the magistrate's office at the Huntsville Municipal Court. However, that appointment could be set more than a month after the request.

Local Huntsville woman must wait weeks to file arrest warrant

One Huntsville woman describes her interaction with the court as "infuriating, frusturating. I feel terrible for other people this happens to."

The Huntsville resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she is waiting to get an arrest warrant after being attacked by her roommate's boyfriend. She said she was thrown to the ground and had her life threatened by the attacker before pushing him off and running outside to call the cops.

The Huntsville Police Department showed up to her house within 10 minutes.

"They started to fill out a police report, and they said unfortunately this wasn't a felonious charge," she said. "It was just harassment and criminal mischief."

Since those are misdemeanors, she has to request an arrest warrant herself.

"A police officer really cannot arrest someone if they don't see a crime being committed or have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been committed," said local attorney Michael Timberlake.

Timberlake explained in these cases, victims can take the police report to a magistrate, who will then determine whether there is enough evidence for an arrest warrant.

But how long does that process take? As of Oct. 26, the next available appointment for a warrant interview with the magistrate's office was Nov. 29, more than one month away.

"There has to be some sort of process where this can be a little bit faster, where people don't have to wait three weeks for an arrest warrant," the Huntsville woman said. "I have all the information, video footage, police reports, and still I'm being told, 'You're just going to have to be patient and hope nothing happens to you.'"

A spokesperson for the city said people with more serious offenses do get pushed ahead in the courtroom. However, for people with misdemeanors, it's a waiting game until they can make an appointment to hopefully get an arrest warrant.

The city confirmed the magistrate's office is currently short-staffed. There are typically eight magistrates and a supervisor, but right now, there are only five magistrates and no supervisor. The magistrate's office is working on filling those empty positions and hopes to be fully staffed in the next couple of months.

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