Under existing law, the court reminder program (program) provides reminders to criminal defendants and juveniles who have been alleged to have committed a delinquent act (collectively, "defendants") to appear at each of their scheduled court appearances.
The act requires every defendant to be automatically enrolled in the program and allows a defendant to opt out of the program. The act clarifies that defendants alleged to have committed traffic offenses are enrolled in the program. The program must use the best contact information available to the courts and provide at least 3 reminders, including one reminder the day before the court appearance. For court appearances that can be attended virtually, the final reminder must include a link to the virtual court appearance. The program must send reminders by text message, but may use another method if a defendant is unable to receive text messages.
The program is required to track the number of defendants that opt out of the program and to implement or recommend changes to improve participation. The judicial department is required to report information regarding reminders sent by methods other than text message.
The act requires the state court administrator to convene a working group to study best practices in court reminders, assess the effectiveness of the program, and recommend appropriate changes to the program to the state court administrator. In its annual State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act hearing, the judicial department is required to present the recommendations made by the working group, whether the recommendations were implemented, and the rationale for implementing or rejecting any recommendation.
Because defendants are automatically enrolled in the program, the act repeals provisions related to notifying defendants of the opportunity to enroll in the program.
The act appropriates $74,713 to the judicial department from the general fund to implement the act.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)