Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

AOC rolls out new victim notification system for criminal court hearing dates

The Administrative Office of the Courts announced Friday a new service that allows people to subscribe to up-to-the-minute criminal court date notifications and reminders via email or text message.

Subscribers are immediately notified of court date, room or session changes, as well as upcoming court date reminders seven days and one day in advance of the court date, according to a news release. The court date notifications system is the latest addition to the suite of online services offered as part of eCourts, the larger initiative to modernize the North Carolina court system.

“The service provides a fast, convenient means to be notified of criminal court date changes and reminders,” said Judge Marion R. Warren, director of the AOC. “Court technology and mobile services are modernizing the way the public does business with our courts.”

Anyone can subscribe to court notifications for criminal cases at www.NCcourts.gov/services. To subscribe, a user must provide the following requirements: a valid North Carolina criminal court case number, the county in which the case was recorded, valid contact information and agreement to the terms of use.

Subscribing to notifications for more than one case is allowed, however, sign-up must be done individually for each case. When subscribing to notifications, the potential subscriber will receive an initial opt-in message. For both email and text messages, the user must opt in to confirm.

Once opted in for a court case, subscribers will receive a message anytime the criminal court date, room or session changes. They will also receive a reminder seven days and one day from the hearing.

Once subscribers have opted in for notifications on a court case, they will remain opted in until they opt out. If a case is closed/disposed and they have not manually opted out, they will remain subscribed to that case, such that if it is reopened in the future and the court date/time/session is changed, they will resume getting notifications.

Proponents of a proposed constitutional amendment to bolster victims’ rights have complained that victim notification of court cases has been inconsistent across the state. The new notification system appears to address those concerns.

Read more about how the new system works here.

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