How can you resolve a minor civil infraction or a traffic ticket without stepping foot in a courtroom? Use the Online Court Project.
The first-of-its-kind technology was designed by J.J. Prescott and his team to help people who have been charged with minor offenses interact with courts online, without needing to hire an attorney.
J. J. Prescott is a law professor at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Empirical Legal Studies Center.
Prescott says the law is very complicated, and people who go to court to solve minor infractions often don’t know what is actually happening.
“If they have questions or if they think something is not quite right with how the ticket or the fine has been issued, they really don’t know what to do,” Prescott says.
Calling an attorney can be very expensive. Prescott argues that people end up going to the courthouse, spending a lot of time there with questions, and they leave still confused and caring less about how the issue was resolved.
He says the technology allows people to have a guided interaction with decision makers.
“Essentially, this allows litigants to raise questions, to ask for a change in their current status, and to do that in a way that’s unlike just calling into the court,” Prescott says.
The project has been operating as a pilot program in Washtenaw County. Prescott says he has received positive responses to the technology.
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