More Floridians using e-Notify program to get court reminders
And the system may be expanding this summer for use in more than just criminal cases.
Roosevelt Sawyer, who oversees technology programs for the Office of the State Courts Administrator, reported to the Florida Courts Technology Commission on May 7 about the program. E-Notify began as a pilot in three counties in late 2019, but since has expanded statewide.
“As of the end of April 2021, e-Notify has almost 20,000 users and has now sent out over 82,000 emails and 69,000 text reminders,” Sawyer reported. “March and April both had over 1,300 new users in the system. If these trends continue, we anticipate there will be over 30,000 users before the end of the year. Users have subscribed to over 10,000 cases covering all 20 circuits.”
As of last summer, the system had about 7,000 users and had sent 10,000 texts and 13,000 emails. It was tested in Okaloosa, Orange, and Nassau counties from mid-October 2019 through mid-January 2020 and then went statewide.
E-Notify allows Floridians to register with the court system and then select cases where they will be automatically notified of court proceedings. Users can choose to be notified by text, email, or both.
The program has been limited to misdemeanor, felony, and criminal traffic cases but is expected to be expanded to most case types by this summer, Sawyer said. Users also will be able to select the notification method for each case they sign up for and expanding ways users can search for cases is also underway, he said.
Sawyer said the system does not track users by whether they are parties in a case, attorneys, or others just interested in following a case. Clay County Clerk of Court Tara Green said bail bond companies have used the system to ensure their clients make court dates and Ninth Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon, chair of the FCTC, said media companies probably use the system to keep abreast of events in high-profile criminal cases.
Sawyer said OSCA has not tracked if e-Notify is improving the appearance rates for defendants but may be able to do that in the future.
OSCA worked with judges, local clerks of court, Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, and the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to take information from state and local court information systems and combine it with the clerks’ Comprehensive Case Information System to provide the updates.
“I think it’s an awesome system that has a lot of potential,” Munyon said.
Sawyer said he would have more information about the expansion into non-criminal cases at the FCTC August meeting. Interested persons can sign up for an e-Notify account here.