Carri Hicks’ bill to stop unfair punishment for missed court dates signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report 
Legislation to stop the unfair practice of people being unfairly punished for missing court dates due to being incarcerated or detained by law enforcement has been signed by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Senate Bill 44’s author, Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, said she was pleased to see the commonsense measure signed into law.

“It’s very common for people to be in jail or police custody and miss their court dates under no fault of their own, and then have warrants or additional charges put on them,” Hicks said. “I thank my legislative colleagues for working with me stop this unfair practice.”

S.B. 44 requires any charges or warrants issued for failure to appear in court to be dismissed upon the defendant showing the court that he or she was incarcerated or otherwise detained by law enforcement at the time of the failure to appear.

Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan, is the principal House author of Senate Bill 44.
“Defendants who fail to appear in court should not be punished for that failure if they are incarcerated at the time of their hearing,” said Strom. “This would seem like common sense, but it’s a prevalent issue. S.B. 44 helps make sure that incarcerated individuals are not enduring double penalization, and I was proud to author it in the House.”

The state’s chief executive signed the bill, which passed the Senate and House unanimously, on Monday (April 19) will go into effect November 1, 2021.