After 41 Action News investigation, KCMO's top judge says money owed to court will be collected

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The top judge of Kansas City's Municipal Court assured taxpayers that thousands of dollars owed to the court will be collected.

On Thursday, Presiding Judge Ardie Bland told 41 Action News the court plans to collect bond forfeiture revenue that has been ignored from over the past year.

Last week, a 41 Action News investigation revealed that the court had not collected a dime since last September because of a glitch in the new paperless technology system.

Typically, when a defendant gets bailed out of jail, the bonding company is on the hook for the full bond amount if the person disappears and misses the court dates.

However, Bland said the computer glitch was preventing the court from allowing due process before forfeiting bonds.

The Court en Banc met on Thursday and approved a software fix that will correct the problem and likely be in place within a couple of months. At that point, Bland said the court will collect on forfeited bonds from the past year.

"This is revenue delayed but not denied," Bland said. "Bonding companies are going to be given notice of the bonds that should have been forfeited. In many instances, they will probably be given a year to find those people and make good on those bonds."

Bland acknowledged that a year to fix the problem might seem like a long time to taxpayers.

However, he said the Municipal Court is the first of its size in the country to undertake the complete paperless transition. As a result, court officials have been tackling a list of issues and challenges as they have surfaced.

In May, a 41 Action News investigation uncovered a separate glitch involving parking tickets.

"When you're at the forefront of doing a project like this, everyone wants to sit back and point fingers and ask, ‘Why are we doing that?" Bland said. "Well, it's because we want to be out front."

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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