We start with a problem that has an easy solution. How many millions of dollars does the Miami Dade County Clerk's Office spend on these?
What to do? What to do? Hmm....it's 2021....what could help solve this problem and disrupt the way the Clerk's office has been doing things since 1919?
WAIT! The internet might just help....AND WAIT.....THIS THING CALLED EMAIL MIGHT BE OF ASSISTANCE and hang on....(slight interruption with the phone ringing) AND WHAT DO PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR HANDS 16 HOURS A DAY? THEIR PHONES !
Now let's try and put all the pieces of the puzzle together and fix this ornery problem. The internet, and email and phones...hmmm... people get arrested and have to give out their information including their phone number. Can we ask for their email? Don't see why not. Now, with that email and phone number could we create a database on the internet and add those valuable pieces of information into the system? It seems doable. NASA put a robot on Mars. Georgia managed to hide several million Trump votes and not get caught. The technology seems feasible to do it better, faster.... (Cue 6 Million Dollar Man opening below).
With an email alert to a court date AND a text message, could we save millions of dollars in postage and acres of landfill and make our postperson's job a bit easier? Why by Jove I think we'e got it.
The feds do not send out little postcards that take engineers with doctorate degrees twenty minutes to open and they seem to have no problem with failures to appear.
And this is even WORSE for us to admit- our cousins north of the border provide a written notice of the next court hearing whilst the defendant is in court. What does this save?....anyone....Bueller?.....anyone? POSTAGE - with written notice received in court, the Clerk's office doesn't have to mail notice to the lawyers and clients.
We have spent a year mostly not issuing bench warrants and ACs and the world is still spinning. Bondmen now routinely use text messaging APPs to alert clients of upcoming court dates, why can't the clerk's office do the same?
BUT WAIT the naysayers are naysaing. What about those .0001% of cases where the defendant does not show and the bondsperson contests the forfeiture? We cannot update the system, save millions of dollars in postage, save on greenhouse gases and help cool the planet because in ten cases next year the court will not be able to estreat the $5,000 bond for the defendant who is charged with possession of marijuana and resisting with violence. Sorry, good idea, but we might lose that estreature case on a notice issue, and we need that five grand so keep spending those millions and filling those landfills.
(They may also say the Rules of Judicial Administration and Dead Sea Scrolls require notice to be mailed. We have searched the elusive ROJA-DSS and not found any such rule, but then again the ROJA-DSS are constructed to prevent a logical search and reading of the document.)
There will be a workaround to the notice issue. Defendant's will sign a paper before release affirming their contact information. If they change it and miss a court date they lose their bond, pure and simple.
So let's recap. There is a problem that costs a lot of money. Technology can solve it and save money, save landfill, save on greenhouse gasses and in general make the whole thing better and more efficient. And therefore the reason this giant inefficient bureaucracy has not changed is because...drum roll please....
THAT'S THE WAY WE HAVE ALWSYS DONE IT.
Oh. Sorry we brought this up.
WHAT SAY YOU HARVEY RUVIN?
We suspect Mr. Ruvin will say that if attorneys go on the clerk's website they can sign up for electronic notice. We have seen that that function DOES NOT stop the clerk from mailing those evil little notices no one can open without tearing the actual information. At the very least Dade should transition to in-court written notices AND STOP spending money on those ridiculous mailers.