February 11, 2019

Denver, CO — The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted unanimously to advance SB19-036, State Court Administrator Reminder Program, a bipartisan bill from Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Pete Lee (D-El Paso) and Judiciary Committee member Senator John Cooke (R-Weld County). The bill would require the state court administrator to establish a text-based program to remind criminal defendants to appear at their scheduled hearings. The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“Too many people are sent to jail solely because they fail to appear in court for a scheduled hearing,” said Senator Pete Lee. “Reminding people of their courtappointments is a commonsense solution that can help us solve this problem.” 

Studies have shown that missed hearings are not only harmful to defendants by causing job losses and family disruptions, but they can also increase associated costs and workload for the courts issuing warrants and rescheduling appearances. This bill would have the additional benefit of reducing overcrowding in local jails.

A reminder program will improve the fairness of our criminal justice system by avoiding the need to impose potentially harmful penalties on defendants who might have unintentionally missed their court date. 

“Passing this bill out of committee is an important step to reform our criminal justice system,” said Senator Lee. “I look forward to getting it across the finish line.”

To learn more about SB19-036, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-036.