RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The goal of this initiative is to help folks understand the reason why people might miss court in the first place.
“Work and childcare obligations, transportation obligations, or just folks who forget or maybe didn’t understand their need to come into court,” National Court System Center Senior Court Management Consultant Michael Tartaglia said.
The project spearheaded by the National Center for State Courts– including Pew Charitable trusts– will take a look at those reasons from an educational and understanding approach.
“And if folks lose or misplace that information, or if the information wasn’t given to them in a way that was easy for them to understand in the first place, it might make it more difficult for them to meet that obligation and get into court on time,” Tartaglia said.
The new approach would be an electronic reminder system, giving these individuals the chance to receive their appearance notice information more efficiently.
“In each of the courts that we worked with, we sent out an iPad asking folks what their court experience was like, and whether the court was set up in a way that was easy for them to understand and navigate and get into court,” Tartaglia said.
Richmond County State Court is the only county in Georgia to participate.
“Bench warrants can cause a lot of trouble. They can snowball and affect you in so many different ways, but if we can find ways to make sure that people are able to make sure that people are able to attend court, that will be helpful to all the entities involved,” Chief Judge of State Court Kellie Mcintyre said.
Judge Monique Walker, says her work with this project was not done alone.
“We have had the full cooperation of all of our stakeholders, here in Richmond County, to include everyone from our solicitors to the clerk, to the public defender’s office, probationers, and court administrators– and even from our higher courts– have supported this program. It has been an awesome experience up until this point.”
“The goal here is really to reduce missed appearances which should ideally help facilitate court processes and result in cost savings for courts, attorneys, law enforcement and individuals,” Tartaglia said.