In an excellent decision to take advantage of modern technology, starting in December, Cook County will phone or text criminal defendants to remind them of their upcoming court dates.
This is good for a couple of reasons. First of all, the vast majority of missed court dates are because the defendant forgot their court date. I used to have a lot of clients miss court dates until I began a practice of texting, emailing or calling clients the day prior to court as a reminder.
The other reason is because it is not unusual for court dates to get confused for one reason or another. For example, recently I had one case where the judge wrote 8/3/17 as the new court date on the court file instead of the actual continuance date which was supposed to have been 8/30/17. This would have resulted in a warrant for my client but for the client being told about his “upcoming” court date by pre-trial services.
Ultimately, this program should reduce costs, because there will be less court dates, less warrants, less need to go out and arrest fugitives, and less housing costs while the arrestees sit in Cook County Jail.
You can read more about this in a DNAinfo story, linked here.