Monterey County Superior Court is pleased to announce the pilot of a countywide “Automated Hearing Text Reminder Program.” The Automated Text Hearing Reminder Program was created in partnership with the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP). One goal of this committee is to increase the appearance rate of criminal defendants at court hearings.

Criminal defendants with a verified phone number will receive a text reminder 3 court days prior and 1 court day prior to a scheduled court date. The text will give the case number, time and location of the hearing. Defendants can unsubscribe from the text reminder program at any time. Please see the example text message.

The court conducted a 3 month study from July through September 2019. The court found that receiving a text message increased the appearance rate for all defendants at arraignment by 14%.

Each failure to appear has a specific cost to the criminal defendant and the local criminal justice system. The criminal defendant is at risk of losing their liberty, having to post a bond and causing major disruption to their family/working life. The failure to appear creates an explicit additional cost to the Court, law enforcement and the jail. A 2011 United States DOJ study estimated that each failure to appear costs the local justice system between $110 and $145. The text reminder system is a cost-effective effort to avoid the negative consequences to the defendant and expense to the local justice system.

This program advances the Monterey County Superior Court’s mission to increase efficient access to justice and court services by providing criminal defendants with an additional notification of upcoming hearing dates. The pilot phase will last from November 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019. During the pilot phase, the Court will perform quality assurance of the Court’s texting infrastructure and assess the impact of text reminders on failure to appear rate on a countywide scale.

Categorized in: