Court to tweet and Facebook trial reminders

A major report found solutions like tougher penalties for skipping court and utilizing grand juries instead of preliminary hearings should be implemented by city courts.

Don’t be surprised if you get a friend request from Philadelphia’s First Judicial District Court — the city’s antiquated legal system is embracing social media. 

“The Supreme Court calls me ‘gadget guy,’” said Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, who along with Chief Justice Ronald Castille released an interim report yesterday on an initiative that is making sweeping changes to Philadelphia’s First Judicial District.

“A lot of folks live and breathe on their cell phones or smart phones, and we want to make the court system a more user friendly service.”

This includes using Facebook and text messaging to remind offenders of court dates. “For a lot of people, it’s not that they don’t want to show up to their court dates. In life, things happen,” McCaffery said. “By using social media, if someone loses their subpoena, they can still know when and where to go.”

McCaffery also hopes to use the court’s website to foster more transparency. “Citizens should know what’s going on and what our goals are,” he said. “I don’t want them to think [the judicial system] is a huge black hole.”

Increased technology will also benefit witnesses, as cameras will be mounted in every courtroom, capturing spectators who often attempt to intimidate by taking pictures or filming testimony on cell phones. “Anyone who holds up a phone will be caught on camera, stopped and asked to give a reasonable explanation,” McCaffery said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.