ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — It’s a controversial bill designed to catch people with outstanding warrants. As Gigi Barnett explains, Anne Arundel County could be the first to withhold tax refunds if one sheriff gets his wish.

Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ronald Bateman wants to serve more warrants in his area but he’s having some difficulty finding “the wanted.” Now he has a plan to bring criminals to him.

“You don’t get your tax refund until you take care of that Anne Arundel County arrest warrant,” Bateman said.

So he’s teaming up with lawmakers to pass a bill that would make Anne Arundel the first county where people with outstanding warrants won’t see their tax refund until they see the sheriff.

“I see this as using the power of the almighty dollar to lure someone into the sheriff’s office,” Bateman said. “There won’t be any delay in getting their tax refund once they take care of their warrant.”

“Tax refunds are the property of the taxpayer, not the government,” said Scott Shaffer.

Shaffer is a member of the Republican Central Committee. Although the committee hasn’t yet decided on the issue, he recently testified against it.

“What this bill does is it creates another big government bureaucracy without actually reducing crime,” Shaffer said.

Anne Arundel County has about 8,000 outstanding arrest warrants. Half of them are for people in other parts of the state. Bateman says it doesn’t matter where someone lives, they, too, won’t see their refund until it’s settled.

If passed, defendants who file taxes jointly would see their tax refunds right away because the proposed law could possibly affect an innocent person.

Comments (10)
  1. Card says:

    Great Idea….
    The Hell with Criminals!!!

  2. Card says:

    I wonder If I am getting my Refund??..LoL

  3. Lynn W says:

    On the fence w/this one. Even though I’ve never had a warrant, some warrants have been issued incorrectly and then there are times w/the warrant database never being updated. Within the past two years, I’ve heard of three people who didn’t even know a warrant was issued on them. In two of the cases, one should have never been issued. Found that out after the person was arrested just because the cops decided to be smart (young African American male minding his business) and the guy sat in jail for approx 12 hours before they realized it was already dealt with. All of a sudden a warrant appeared in the database on the same exact day the cops arrested him for something he supposedly did three months prior. It was a his word agains the other persons. Another case was police were on the scene and didn’t arrest anyone; a month later the police decided to issue warrants; these individuals didn’t even know until a month later when the sheriff showed up at the door to arrest them. They case too was thrown out.

  4. Tom Legare says:

    Another idiot idea. Just do your job instead or find something else to do!!

  5. AA RESIDENT says:

    Good idea .Cut the warrants in half then cut the sheriff’s department in half.Ole Ron should be thinking up a catchy name for his next sting.Valentines day is just around the corner.

  6. MarySW says:

    On the surface may sound like an incentive for some people to turn themselves in to go to resolve the situations but exactly how is it going to be figured out for the Comptroller’s Office to know when to release a refund when a warrant is cleared? What if the refunding agency identifies the wrong person to withhold the refund from? That would be a nightmare for an unsuspecting person. So far, Department of Social Services, Social Security Administration, and Motor Vehicle Administration, (to name a few) does not appear to have an accurate way to followup and verify that warrants are resolved or that a criminal matter has been resolved or dismissed. I have clients who have been denied driver’s licenses,non driver’s ID’s, DSS benefits, and continuation of disability benefits due to inaccurate information in those agency’s computers and thier lack of ability to locate correct information. Also, of all of the outstanding warrants has anyone looked to see if there is large percentage of these individuals even filing taxes?

  7. Liberal Soldier says:

    I would agree because I am not a fan of criminals but on the other hand these people have paid their taxes over what they should have paid and are due their refunds. I have a great idea. Why don’t the Sheriff and his deputies do their job and catch these guys and lock them up. We don’t need anymore government interference in people’s lives.

  8. Maryalnd Girl says:

    No to this one. Warrants can be issued incorrectly; and from what I hear, state and county databases are not updated in a timely manner. Too many innocent people could be affected by this.

    Once these issues are alleviated, this law could actually work.

  9. keets says:

    No wait! I have a great idea! Maybe the Sherrif is on to something…. maybe they should just pay the families of criminals to turn them in! That’s right, police work be damned! We’ll pay YOU $1,000 to turn in your son (taxes and fees apply…this is MD afterall). Bunch of lazy beaurocrats.

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