Birmingham Residents Clear Their Traffic Records Quickly With Rocket Docket

Kenijua Carpenter

Kenijua Carpenter went to the Boutwell Auditorium to get her traffic violations cleared.

Cody Short, WBHM

In 2018, Kenijua Carpenter received two tickets for not having auto insurance or a car tag. She already had two previous parking violations that she wasn’t able to pay. And after missing her court date in December 2019, a “failure to appear” landed on her record.

So this week, Carpenter got in line, along with hundreds of other Birmingham residents, outside the Boutwell Auditorium, all of them hoping to get their cases settled by getting their warrants removed and receiving a new court date to pay off a ticket, or pay it off then and there.

“I am glad that they do offer services like this, to give people more time,” Carpenter said.

The Birmingham Municipal Court is the largest in the state of Alabama. And since the COVID-19 pandemic began, backlog cases started to increase.

Municipal Court officials like Judge Andra Sparks are finding resolutions to this problem by having a Rocket Docket and Operation Reset sessions like this one throughout the summer. This week is their second session, and last month during the first round of the initiative, the court saw nearly 2,000 people. That’s five times more compared to a normal court day where judges see about 300-400 people.

“The Rocket Docket helps us speed through a lot of traffic cases,” Sparks said. “Operation Reset is ‘Hey, I know I’ve got some jeopardy hanging over my head. I know I haven’t been to court. I’ll come to you and you can remove that warrant and reset my case.’”

However, the process to get a new court date through Rocket Docket or Operation Reset is not a quick one. Carpenter waited a little more than two hours to see the judge and receive a new court date. But she was able to get a new court date in November to pay over $600 for all of her combined ticket costs. And she’s glad she did it.

Judge Sparks said that this is an unprecedented opportunity for residents, the first time the municipal courts system have offered residents a chance to clear their records.

“This is a legitimate attempt to help people resolve backlog cases and remove warrants,” he said.

If people don’t fully take advantage of this opportunity, then they’ll be recycled back into the system of unresolved cases.

Rocket Docket and Operation Reset will continue to be available to Birmingham residents one more time this summer, Aug. 23-25 at the Boutwell Auditorium.

You can call 205-254-2161 or visit for more information.


Old Carraway complex to be demolished all at once under new deal with city

The former hospital site will be turned into a mixed-use development, Star at Uptown, which is to include residential, retail and dining spaces, as well as an amphitheater.

Attorney General says the execution review should happen quickly, that there is ‘no moratorium’

Last month, Gov. Kay Ivey asked Attorney General Steve Marshall not to seek additional execution dates for any other death row inmates until a review is complete.

Fire department says landfill blaze that spread smoke more than 20 miles away is ‘contained’

The Moody Fire Department determined that a landfill fire that has been burning largely underground has been contained.

UAB hires ex-NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer as head coach

The former NFL quarterback most recently spent four seasons as a high school football coach.

Alabama coal miners begin their 20th month on strike

The miners have survived more than 600 days on the picket line, thanks to widespread support and anger at their employer, Warrior Met Coal. Even now, neither side seems ready to budge.

Cameras, iPads part of plan to improve garbage collection

The City Council approved a software that they say will streamline garbage routes and and improve accountability.

More Front Page Coverage