Sensei is excited to be a Bronze sponsor for Lawyerpalooza this year! Lawyerpalooza is a free annual event hosted by the FBA Young Lawyers Section. This year, the event will be at Nottoway Park Hunter House in Vienna, VA on Saturday, June 1 from 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM. All net proceeds will benefit The Honorable David T. Stitt Scholarship Fund for the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
Everything about law is changing. Who would have thought that courts would text messages to defendants to show up on their court dates?
But as reported by Virginia Lawyers Weekly, courts around the country are embracing text messages as a way to nudge people into showing up for their hearings. On any given day, up to half of defendants fail to show up for their scheduled proceedings. No-shows cost the courts time and money, and failure to appear can cost defendants their freedom.
Public defenders and court administrators are using text reminders in more than a dozen states, including Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Washington.
Richmond Public Defender Tracy Paner said the reminders have been a huge help to her clients, who are often struggling with poverty and chaotic family lives, in addition to dealing with the fallout from an arrest. Missing a court date can spur a judge to issue a bench warrant, which can lead to a citation or arrest, fines and even jail time.
“If you’re hustling and you don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent and looking for a job and wondering where you are going to get food, kind of the last thing on your mind is your court date,” Paner said. “If we can help with that, that’s easy for us.”
In Richmond and Petersburg, the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission used a grant to set up a pilot program. The commission contracted with Uptrust, a San Francisco-based company whose software integrates with the public defender’s case management software to access the names, cellphone numbers, court dates and other information to track cases.
Uptrust’s software builds a schedule of reminders for each defendant and automatically sends texts on those dates. The messages are typically sent 10 days, one week and one day before a scheduled hearing. Some texts also include customized messages reminding people to seek time off from work, arrange for child care and figure out how they will get to court.
In New York City, researchers who studied a pilot program found that from March 2016 to June 2017 text messages that combined information on planning, what to expect and the consequences of not going to court led to a 26 percent drop in the number of no-shows.
In Arizona, after court administrators started a pilot program last year, the text reminders for criminal court hearings helped reduce the number of failure-to-appear warrants issued in Scottsdale Municipal Court by 51.9% during its first three months.
Uptrust charges an initial fee of $10,000 to $20,000 and a $2 fee for each person who receives text reminders.
In Spokane, Washington, public defenders began using a texting system in September, not only for court date reminders, but also to let defendants know there’s a daycare facility inside the courthouse where their children can stay while they’re in court. What a great concept, having a day care center in the courthouse!
This is not the world in which I grew up as a lawyer – but I applaud the effort to adapt to the modern world and serve the cause of justice with technology. On the other hand, I hope I don't ever receive one of those "C U in Court" texts!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology
Recently, the 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide by Sensei’s Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke was mentioned in “Move to a paperless law firm with these scanning tools” by Nicole Black writing for the ABA Journal. The ABA Journal is read by half of the nation’s 1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Excerpt: As more law firms move toward a paperless office, the biggest hurdle they often encounter is a lack of information. For many lawyers, the idea of going paperless sounds like a good one, but the implementation can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be this way—the key is understanding which tools will be best for your law firm’s needs.
For starters, you’re going to need additional hardware. Specifically, one of the key tools needed is a reliable, affordable scanner. In The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide authors Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke help lawyers sift through their technology choices and address the many different hardware needs of law firms. When it comes to scanners, they recommend two different models for law firms.
Read the entire article here.
The CEO and owner of a Digital Forensics company (H-11 Digital Forensics) based out of Salt Lake City, Utah was arrested last June by the FBI as he attempted to board a flight to China. Ron Hansen was indicted on 15 counts of espionage and has since pled guilty to attempting to steal and deliver military secrets to the Chinese government. Hanson, a U.S. Army veteran and civilian contractor, previously worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Evidence acquired by the FBI detailed communications, money transfers (no less than $800,000) and other interactions between Hanson and intelligence agents working for the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The report states that he began communicating with Chinese intelligence officials starting in 2014 and was able to use contacts in the intelligence community to gather information to pass along to the Chinese. The FBI was able to recover electronic communications between Hanson and his American and Chinese contacts through digital forensic analysis of his devices and email accounts.
Sentencing for Mr. Hanson is slated for September 24. 2019 and he’s likely to spend at least 15 years in a federal prison for his crimes.
Email: email@example.com Phone: 703.359.0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology