Help abolish NC “Self-Initiated Warrant” Laws
My name is Mia Floyd and I was falsely arrested due to the “Self-Initiated Warrant” Law in the State of NC. North Carolina General Statute Section § 15A-304 provides that: A judicial official may issue a warrant for arrest only when he is supplied with sufficient information, supported by oath or affirmation, to make an independent judgment that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person to be arrested committed it. The information must be shown by one or more of the following: Affidavit; Oral testimony under oath or affirmation before the issuing official, etc.
North Carolina should provide clear context around the term “sufficient”. The way the law is written it allows any citizen to initiate an arrest warrant issued on another by lying to the magistrate. It’s that easy! North Carolina requires no proof or investigation, simply an unverifiable story that even a minor can articulate.
When I turned myself in, the Sheriff’s teased about the frequency of arrests and the amount of individuals they process daily due to vindictive individuals who want to seek revenge by filing false reports. I am no criminal. In fact I am a hard- working, law abiding, taxpaying citizen. I encountered an evil demon who manipulated not only me, but also the State. As a result, I have a mug shot posted online for a crime I never committed! This impacts my career, my reputation and can affect my ability to provide for my children. The arrest leaves me completed vulnerable for the world to judge me. I’m not sure I find the humor in this law. I can think of many practical jokes, but my life and reputation certainly don’t qualify!
The irony in this nightmare is, even in jail, people are profiled. That night the Sheriff's were adamant there was no warrant for my arrest - ok so can I leave? Believe me ma'am, I met with 7 attorneys today, I am in your computer. Please understand that I too think this is a horrible joke, but it is real, it’s my life and this isn’t where I want to be. Like me, the Officers were in utter disbelief I was there and it was the highlight of the night to find out why. It felt like somehow these people knew me, they knew my character and the morals that mold me, but the only information they had was what they were finally able to locate on their computer screen.
I was a spectacle, the only information the Officers had is what they could read, similarly to what anyone can see without having the background - the real truth. The Officers continued to say "What are you doing here, you don't belong here." In my mind I couldn't help but agree, but couldn't respond. At least 8 Officers that night reiterated I didn't fit in…I think I'd have to agree! It was painful and would make the experience a little less painful if they didn’t state the obvious. However, the Officers were absolutely right, I didn't belong in that place, but I was because the justice system makes it THAT easy.
My Mother who drove me to turn myself in had to experience the horrible torture of seeing her daughter taken away for a frivolous crime that never occurred. She then had to return home and pretend like life was normal with her grand-daughters not knowing if or when I would return home. Fortunately for me, the magistrate released me that evening, but if the law required any proof or a simple investigation we would wouldn't have that experience. Unfortunately, the burden of proof was on me, to prove my innocence for a crime I never committed, not on the individual who filed the warrant.
The self-initiated warrant law needs to be changed as it is archaic and has ruined many law-abiding citizens’ lives. No innocent person should have to experience the mortifying, demoralizing, embarrassment I was subjected to. What an unsettling feeling to live in a State where the law doesn’t protect its citizens. North Carolina has zero controls in place to require an investigation prior to issuing warrants to which people can be oblivious. Not only is this unjust, but a waste of tax payers money.
Through my experience I realize how evil, vindictive and malicious people take advantage of the law while committing a felony in the process, which rarely, if ever, gets prosecuted. Filing a false police report is a felony, but the State takes no steps to prosecute the individuals who manipulate the system. In fact, the State encourages citizens to file warrants if they feel a crime has been committed against them. What’s more disturbing is the State recognizes that allowing citizens to issue a warrant is problematic and wasteful and has done nothing to initiate change.
My case never made it to court because the District Attorney recognized the frivolous claim immediately, but I am ultimately responsible for bearing the financial, emotional, mental and social ramifications of the felonious actions of a disturbed individual. It took 15 minutes for someone to ruin my life by filing a false warrant and it takes the State an entire year to expunge my record for a crime I didn't commit. Nothing can take this experience away from me. No one should be subjected to this demoralizing experience due to the lack of controls in place to ensure lies are validated by an investigation prior to wasting tax payer’s money.
Please sign my petition and ask Governor Pat McCrory to abolish the laws and require the justice system to work for the citizen and not against them.