In an attempt to streamline the subpoena system in Harris County, several county leaders introduced a new system for notifying witnesses to testify in criminal court.
Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis and a representative for the Harris County District Attorney's Office were among the officials gathered on Thursday morning at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center to unveil the new approach toward distributing subpoenas.
The system will take advantage of electronic communication tools and automation for the issuing of subpoenas on behalf of prosecutors, victims, criminal defense lawyers and their clients. The modifications will eliminate paperwork, time and clerical tasks, and more importantly, allow deputies who serve as bailiffs to spend more time providing security in courtrooms.
The changes are expected to reduce subpoena processing time from two or three days to same-day service.
One clerk will be able to do the work that formerly required a few hours of
paperwork every day by 37 sheriff's deputies who work as bailiffs and process
"These deputies had to go do paperwork , leaving courtrooms potentially less safe. That will change, making sure that safety and security for the public in all of our courtrooms continue to the primary focus," said Sheriff Garcia.
"This is going to revolutionize the criminal justice processes because it's going to bring the criminal courthouse into the 21st Century," said District Clerk Daniel.
The eSubpoena system will help increase efficiency in the courts and will reduce paper and printing costs. Cost savings include the timely delivery of subpoenas, paper reduction, immediate response action, reduced lost paperwork, and improved control by sheriff deputy's command over subpoena, as well as better and faster feedback for the District Attorney's Office for scheduling and the elimination of delivery costs.