Overall Goals Of The Presentation. To Assist Providers In Determining Their Clients Eligibility For Homeless Court To Ensure Advocacy Letters And Packets Are Ready And Responsive To The Client’s Underlying Issues Of Homelessness And Criminal Behavior. Section I. Homeless Court Eligibility.
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Homeless Court Eligibility
To Be Eligible For Homeless Court The Client MUST
Homeless court is designed to address most misdemeanor and infraction cases issued within San Diego County.
Homeless Court is NOT to be used:
By individuals who are not part of the provider’s program
To determine if your client has any tickets
NOTE: If you have any questions about whether or not a case can be heard you should contact Steve Binder for clarification!!! [email protected]
There are a variety of ways to get information about cases within the county. The provider must take into account the overall health of the client in deciding how best to access these resources.
Go onto the sheriffs’ website and enter your client’s name and date of birth to see if there is an outstanding warrant. This can be done by going to the site listed below.
The link will take you to a page similar to this and will let you know what type of charge your client has and whether Homeless Court would be appropriate
This will bring up the following page:
If your client has the actual ticket that the police officer gave him/her you can use that to determine if your client’s cases are eligible for homeless court. (Please see Appendix I of the guidebook for a copy of a citation.)
It can take up to a year for the ticket your client was issued to enter the court system! Homeless Court can only take care of tickets that are in the court system!!! Homeless Court cannot help your client until the ticket enters the court system! The only 100% way to know if your client’s case is in the court system is to go down to the courthouse and ask!
Note: If your client is unable or fearful of going to the courthouse, you – The Provider – can go on their behalf (all you need is their name and date of birth.) You or your client just need to ask for “a list of all open misdemeanor or infraction cases ‘Johnny’ has on file.”
The DMV also keeps records of all traffic related offenses an individual has. You can go down to the DMV and request a print out of any case, fines or fees associated with a persons DMV record (See Appendix III of the guidebook for an example of a DMV print out)
NOTE: The DMV ONLY keeps a record of traffic related offenses! The Courthouse is the ONLY place where you can go to get a complete list of an individual’s offenses!
NOTE: Cases sent to Alliance One include felony cases AND cases from out of county!!! The only way to be sure that your client has an eligible case for Homeless Court is to go down to the courthouse misdemeanor office and check!!!
If your agency has the funds to do so, you can also access this website and request his/her public records. There is a fee for this site!!!
Data base Web-Site With A Fee
If you have a case number or are looking for case numbers for your client you can use this website to get information. You can search by name or by case number.
NOTE: This web-site will only show open cases BUT IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST! Your client may still have eligible cases even if this web-site cannot find any!
Preparing A Client For Homeless Court
To Ensure That All Of Your Client’s Cases Can Be Heard During One Homeless Court Session:
If the case is not in the court system database, and the disposition of the old cases will not affect the client, hold the old cases over until the new case is in the database so that all cases can be resolved at the same time, rather than have the client appear more than once!
The ONLY exception to this rule is with traffic tickets…Any traffic related offense can lead to a suspended license and needs to be handled right away!
Continuing A Case In
When asking a client about any tickets or infractions they have you may learn that a client has an outstanding warrant for an offense or has an upcoming court appearance for one of his/her tickets.
Going to “traditional court” to take care of a warrant or to continue a case can be very empowering for a client and may also save them from being found guilty of another crime (failing to appear in court) or from being arrested on an active warrant.
NOTE: Went searching just use the last name of your client…this is a case where less is more!
Gather The Proper Information
Picking The Right Courthouse
There is no guarantee that when your client goes to court to ask that a warrant be lifted the judge will agree!
Any time your client goes to court for a warrant there is
the possibility that s/he will be arrested and detained in jail!
However, if your client chooses not to go to court to take care of the warrant and is arrested on the street, both the judge and prosecution tend to be less lenient!
If your client refuses to go to court to take care of his/her warrant, one option is to have your client carry around his/her Agreement To Appear for Homeless Court. While there is no law that requires this, police officers have at times not arrested clients with active warrants who can show proof that they have an upcoming court hearing in Homeless Court.
Whether your client has missed his/her court date, is appearing before his/her court date or is showing up on time – s/he must check in with the business office
With either a warrant or an upcoming court date you want to request that the court “continue the matter until after the homeless court date.” (Your attorney will make the request to the judge – your job is just to let the attorney know that this is what you want for your client.) Often what will happen is that the court will set another court date after the Homeless Court date and if your client’s case(s) are not resolved in homeless court s/he will need to appear in court on that date. If your clients cases are taken care of in Homeless Court then your client will not need to go back to court for those cases.
Traffic Court is slightly different than the other criminal courts. Your client will not be given an attorney to represent him/her, so if you can go with your client it is very helpful.
You can continue a traffic offense for 30 days on-line. Follow these steps:
A traffic case can only be continued prior to your clients “date to appear” located on the bottom of his/her ticket.
If a 30 day continuance is not long enough to get your client through Homeless Court, you will need to go down to the court house to ask for a longer extension
Stephanie Morehead - [email protected]
Steve Binder - [email protected]
Step Four: Meeting Defense Counsel And Existing Providers
To all of the wonderful people who helped make this training and guidebook possible:
Alex Heyer Steve Binder
Dennis Vermeersch Linda Diaz
Stephanie Morehead Charles Lyles
Bert Capati Adam Garson
Nicole King Jennifer Feldman
DLA Piper Kriste Draper