Citrus County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Angela Vick today announced the release of a new program that allows any individual who registers to receive alerts of upcoming criminal court events via text or email. The new system, known as E-Notify, is intended to keep defendants and any other interested parties informed about upcoming court events. Initially, a pilot project provided alerts on cases filed in three counties – Orange, Okaloosa, and Nassau. The program has expanded statewide as of January 31, 2020.
Users can go to 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.
“I am so pleased to offer this option for the benefit of our citizens and the administration of justice,” Citrus County Clerk of Courts Angela Vick said in a Friday news release. “In today’s busy environment, it is essential to maximize the use of modern technology to streamline and improve services.”
E-Notify is designed specifically to fulfill the legislature’s direction to provide alerts to defendants in criminal cases. The system, however, is not limited to defendants and offers a valuable resource to others who may wish to be notified of case events.
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 but also 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 the arrest of a defendant. Fewer defendants with missed court dates will reduce negative consequences both for the individuals and associated costs to the justice system.
Users who sign up for the service choose how they will get alerts – by email, text, or both – and timing of the reminders, choosing any combination of 14-day, 7-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.