Birmingham Residents Clear Their Traffic Records Quickly With Rocket Docket

 1561715455 
1626894001
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 www.birminghamal.gov/municipal-court/ for more information.

 

“Expect us,” reproductive rights supporters rally across Alabama after federal abortion ruling

Alabamians took to the streets this weekend after elective abortions became a felony in the state on Friday.

What to know about Alabama abortion rights after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Here’s what the decision means for the Gulf South region.

Alabama OKs $725M bond sale to build 2 supersize prisons

That money will be added to $135 million in state funds and $400 million in pandemic relief dollars that the state already agreed to put toward the project.

Britt wins tumultuous Alabama Senate race scrambled by Trump

Katie Britt won the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama Tuesday, defeating six-term Rep. Mo Brooks in a primary runoff after former President Donald Trump took the unusual step of rescinding his initial Brooks endorsement.

2022 Alabama primary runoff results

Republicans will be choosing between Katie Britt and Roy Moore as their nominee for U.S. Senate. Democrats will pick a nominee for governor between Yolonda Flowers and Malika Sanders-Fortier.

More Front Page Coverage