Birmingham Residents Clear Their Traffic Records Quickly With Rocket Docket

 1538062015 
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.

 

Alabama Will Follow CDC Guidelines For COVID-19 Booster Shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized a third shot of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for certain groups.

Alabama Lawmakers Will Take On A $1.3 Billion Prison Construction Plan In A Special Session

As Alabama faces mounting federal pressure to address violence in state prisons, lawmakers begin a special session Monday to vote on a proposal that includes two new mega prisons for men and a new women's facility.

There Were More Deaths Than Births In Alabama Last Year, A Grim First For The State

Alabama's top health official says the state has "literally shrunk." According to preliminary data, it saw 64,714 total deaths and 57,641 births in 2020.

Crestwood Blvd Hotel Has Eight Weeks To Clean Up Its Act, Council Says

A crime-plagued motel on Crestwood Boulevard will have eight weeks to clean up its act, the Birmingham City Council decided Tuesday.

Yes, It Is Safe To Get The COVID And Flu Vaccines At The Same Time

Alabama is gearing up for flu season. Health professionals say it's okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine in conjunction with the flu vaccine.

Hoyt Leaves Legacy In District Eight After Sixteen Years

For the last sixteen years, Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt has represented areas like Ensley, West End and Five Points West. But Hoyt will leave office next month after choosing not to run for reelection. His last meeting is October 19.

More Front Page Coverage