Illinois approves notification of court dates by text message

Another misleading headline: Illinois Supreme Court approves new rule allowing for an expansion of text messaging in courts.

No, people are not actually allowed to send text messages while in court. Rather, the new rule permits individual court administrators in Illinois to implement text message notification programs. The primary goal seems to be getting people to show up for their court dates.

Text messaging programs are a supplement and not a substitute for any notification required by Supreme Court Rule and any failure to participate in a text messaging program will not be considered or used as evidence against the person in any court proceeding.

Participants will be afforded the ability to opt out of the program at any time.

The phone information provided and collected for the purpose of inclusion in a text message notification program under the new Rule will not be made part of the official public court record and shall not be utilized for any other purpose.

An eminently sensible change.

Courts are using text messages to remind defendants to appear

The AP explains that more than twelve state court systems are embracing text messages to remind defendants to show up for critical hearings and trials. It seems to work: a pilot program in New York City cut no-shows by 26 percent.

Death threats against Bosnian judges

Two senior judges in Bosnia received threatening text messages over the weekend.

Ranko Debevec, president of the Court of Bosnia and Herzeoginva, which handles cases of war crimes, terrorism and organised crime, told BIRN he received a text message that began with the word ‘fatwa’, a ruling on Islamic law.

The message accused him of cooperating with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and said he had been sentenced to death.

Jadranka Lokmic-Misiraca, vice-president of Bosnia’s judicial overseer, received a similar death threat the same day.

Let’s hope that police officials take these threats seriously, and bring the perpetrators to justice.