Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Increasing Public Access to Court Rules - Moving from Good to Great

Submitted by Cari Gerchick, Esq., Communications Director, Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts

Submitting changes or comments to Arizona's court rules, which apply in all state courts, has just gotten easier. The Arizona Supreme Court now accepts electronic filing of rule petitions and rule comments at the "Rules EForum." The Rules E-Forum is a website created by the Arizona Supreme Court that allows the public to monitor all pending rules petitions and comments.

"Allowing electronic filing of rule petitions and rule comments saves time and money for members of the legal and non-legal communities who wish to be a part of the rule change process," said Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor. 

"We're excited about our ability to offer easier access for all interested parties, in another step to move our courts from good to great."

To submit, comment on, or view a rule change petition, please visit and register.
The public may still submit rule change petitions and comments in the traditional, paper method with the Clerk of the Supreme Court located at 1501 West Washington, Fourth Floor, Phoenix, Arizona 85007. For instructions, please visit: These documents will appear on the electronic

For more information about the Arizona Supreme Court's Rules E-Forum, visit: and click on Frequently Asked Questions.

Michigan Implements Statewide Drug Court Case Management System

Submitted by: Nial Raaen, Director of Trial Court Services, Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) announces the release of its statewide web-based drug court case information system (DCCMIS). The DCCMIS is designed to support drug court case management and the collection and analysis of drug court data. The DCCMIS project began in late 2003 when SCAO requested technical assistance from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to recommend an approach to improve drug court automation in the state. NCSC further assisted with the preparation of a request for proposal (RFP) to develop a drug court case management system for statewide implementation. Five focus group meetings were held with drug court users and key stakeholders to refine RFP requirements. An advisory committee of drug court users was convened to review vendor proposals and evaluate system demonstrations. Following a review of ten proposals, the advisory committee recommended that the contract be awarded to Advanced Computer Technologies (ACT) of Montgomery, Alabama.

Development of the DCCMIS software application commenced in January 2005 with site visits to observe court processes and define user requirements in local trial and tribal courts. A users' focus group was then convened to review the design of vendor's current drug court software and identify changes needed to incorporate requirements unique to Michigan. SCAO drug court staff also led a data standards committee to identify required data elements for drug court evaluation. The alpha-version DCCMIS application was then presented to more than 50 users during software testing sessions conducted at the Michigan Hall of Justice in late summer 2005. Final testing of the system was completed at selected beta sites.

The on-going costs of system hosting and maintenance are covered by SCAO. The only cost to local drug courts will be for high speed internet connection and upgrades to PC software and hardware, if needed. All courts that receive state funding through the Michigan Drug Court Grant Program will use the system as a condition of their funding beginning in fiscal year 2007. Other drug courts are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

System training starts with a brief site visit to assess each court's readiness for implementation. Courts are responsible for ensuring that they meet necessary hardware and software requirements. Training begins with a regional session for groups of court users, followed by live training at each court site. The SCAO training team is large enough to allow concurrent deployment of the system at several sites. Training and implementation was completed at 54 drug courts within five months of system release. Help desk services and an online users' manual are provided by the vendor, along with on-going support and training from SCAO.

The DCCMIS analysis component will provide users the ability to conduct descriptive and comparative bi-variant analysis of their data without the need to export data into other statistical programs. The system will allow users to select out subgroups of clients using any combination of the variables collected in the system, and provide the analytic tools to describe the frequency, percent, mean, standard deviation, and range of each subgroup. Differences between subgroup characteristics and recidivism can be tested. This will provide managers quick access to information and measurable program performance to assist with strategic planning and administrative decision making.

Funding for the DCCMIS has been provided in part by grants from the Michigan Office of Drug Control Policy and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. For questions regarding our project contact Ms. Emily Taylor in the SCAO Drug Court Programs Office at (517) 373-7351 or