Impact of Failure to Appear
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Measure the true impact of Failure to Appear.
A defendant's absence in court poses significant challenges to the judicial system. It not only wastes the valuable time and resources of court personnel but has a chain reaction effect that also disrupts the carefully coordinated legal process, necessitating additional preparation by everyone involved.
Court Personnel Time
When a defendant doesn't show up, the time of judges, clerks, bailiffs, and other court staff is wasted. They are still paid for their time in court, regardless of whether the defendant appears.
Law Enforcement Costs
If a bench warrant is issued for their arrest due to failure to appear, law enforcement must spend resources to locate and detain them, including reprocessing costs once they are in custody.
Public Defender/Prosecutor Time
Preparations by attorneys, both public defenders and prosecutors, are wasted if a case is rescheduled, necessitating further preparation for the new hearing date.
The court may need to reschedule the hearing, leading to potential backlogs and inefficiencies in the judicial system.
Impact on Other Cases
Rescheduling one case can have a domino effect on the scheduling of other cases. This can cause delays and inefficiencies throughout the system.
Sending out notifications, updating systems, and other clerical tasks related to the FTA also incur costs.
Potential Bail Forfeiture
If the defendant was out on bail, that bail might be forfeited, leading to extra court proceedings and administrative tasks if the bail bond company or surety seeks to recover their losses.
Jail and Holding Costs
Once arrested on a bench warrant, the defendant may be held in jail until the next court date. This incurs costs associated with housing, feeding, and supervising inmates.
Public Trust and Perception
Regular failures to appear can erode public trust in the justice system's efficiency. Victims' and witnesses' schedules and lives are disrupted as well.