Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Nikki Alvarez-Sowles announces the introduction of an ambitious program that allows individuals who register to receive alerts of upcoming criminal court events via text and/or email.
The system, e-Notify, is intended to keep defendants and other interested parties informed about upcoming court events. A pilot project launched in October provided alerts on cases filed in Orange, Okaloosa, and Nassau counties. The program expands statewide as of Friday.
Users may visit http://www.enotify.flcourts.org to sign up for alerts. The program was developed collaboratively by the state’s clerks of court and the state courts system.
“E-Notify is a valuable resource for parties, the public, and media to be informed about upcoming hearings and other court events,” Alvarez-Sowles said. “It works similarly to receiving a text or email to remind you of a doctor’s appointment.”
Designed specifically to fulfill the Legislature’s direction to provide alerts to defendants in criminal cases, the system also offers a valuable resource to others wishing to be notified of case events.
“E-Notify,” Alvarez-Sowles said, “is a great example of multiple government agencies coming together to provide better service to our community.”
Similar programs elsewhere have shown the notification system is effective.
Studies in jurisdictions where electronic alerts have been implemented show significant reductions in “failures to appear,” or instances in which defendants miss their court events. A text-alert program in New York City both reminded defendants of their court appearances and provided information on the consequence of failing to show up.
Failure to appear for a court event can result in a warrant being issued for arrest of a defendant. Fewer defendants with missed court dates reduce negative consequences both for individuals and associated costs to the justice system.
Users who sign up for the service choose how they will get alerts – email and/or text – as well as the timing of their reminders, choosing any combination of 14-day, seven-day, or day-ahead notifications.
There is no limit to the number of cases users can sign up to get notifications. E-Notify allows users to manage their alert subscriptions and make changes to cases and frequency.