State: 9,500 court appearance notices were sent late

DOVER — More than 46,000 criminal notices to appear before the Court of Common Pleas were scheduled to be sent out between June 1 and Oct. 3.

Due to a yet-to-be-determined problem 20 percent of those notices weren’t mailed during that time, the court revealed Friday.

Approximately 9,500 notices were not sent out in time by the Department of Technology and Information, potentially causing some people to be fined, have their driver’s licenses suspended or even be jailed.

The notices have since been mailed.

Court of Common Pleas administrator Stephanie Fitzgerald said officials have not finished going through the notices, but the courts are not aware of anyone being arrested for failing to show up for a case they did not receive notification for.

The Court of Common Pleas said it is taking several steps to assist people impacted by the failure, and anyone who believes he or she has been affected by the issue is urged to visit https://de.gov/notice for more information.

Anyone who was arrested due to the failure will be released.

In cases where a notice was not sent and a capias was issued because the defendant did not show at the trial, the capias will be withdrawn and the case rescheduled. An individual whose driver’s license was suspended because he or she did not appear will have their license reinstated with no cost.

DTI has begun checking the system every day to ensure notices are mailed out, Ms. Fitzgerald said.

“We really didn’t know until mid-September when we got notification in Sussex County that some attorneys hadn’t gotten trial notices and started looking into it,” she said.

The courts and DTI initially believed it was small issue only impacting one area but determined a few days ago it had affected about one-fifth of all notices sent out over a four-month period.

Ms. Fitzgerald expects DTI will finish reviewing every notice to determine how many people were impacted by the middle of next week.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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