New app service allows criminal defendants to ‘check-in’ on their phone

About 60 defendants in the city are currently using an app called court fact to “check in” with the courts before trial.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:46 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - He’s accused of killing someone while behind the wheel.

But one local family says the only thing keeping him from doing it again is his cell phone.

Mahdi Gayar is out on bond and being monitored by a smartphone app, allowed by the courts.

News 4 first told you Thursday Gayar was being allowed to check in on a cell phone app once a week, as part of his bond conditions.

He’s charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of speeding on Gravois back in 2017 and crashing into and killing Dan Domian.

“I don’t trust it and I don’t trust him,” said Pam Domian.

Domian’s family is skeptical of the phone app.

So News 4 started asking questions.

City courts recently entered into a near half-million dollar contract with the company Total Court Services.

About 60 defendants in the city are currently using an app called court fact to “check-in” with the courts before trial.

It requires facial recognition and locations services.

“Absolutely have more and more clients on these monitoring systems,” said defense attorney Kristi Flint. She doesn’t represent Gayar but says she thinks the app is good tool in criminal justice.

“Clients that I have who have been monitored by the app are required to check in multiple times a day,” she said.

And Flint says it gives real-time data about defendants.

“When the courts get the report, the prosecutors do and the defense does, so we can watch it as its happening,” she said.

She says it’s a critical step in bail reform.

“If we can get them out on the street and building their lives, that’s a good thing for everyone, the clients and the community as a whole,” she said.

Hundreds of other defendants in the city, though, are assigned physical bracelet monitors instead that offer more stringent monitoring.

If the defendant has the means, they are required to pay for the services but the taxpayers foot the bill if the person is found to be unable to pay.

St. Louis county is also offering a somewhat similar app service.

Gayar is scheduled for trial in March next year.

Domian’s family has been frustrated that it’s been five years since the crash and still, there’s been no justice.

When reached for comment, Gayar’s attorney told us they were working to resolve the case.