Wednesday, December 17, 2008

E-Courts 2008 Presentations Available

Presentations from the E-Courts 2008 conference that was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from December 8-10, 2008 are now available online. Nearly 500 persons attended the conference that featured presentations from judges, court professionals, technologists, academics, and vendors. The conference website can be found at:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NIEM Traning Course Available Online

A December 12, 2008 e-mail announced that the National Information Exchange Model NIEM Practical Implementers Course is now available in an online, eLearning environment. This new format helps to address the growing demand for the course through innovative use of Web-based technology. The course provides a free, open-enrollment educational environment to support flexibility, course demand, and cost effectiveness to address the needs of the NIEM-user community.

NIEM and the NIEM educational programs are funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance BJA, the Department of Justice DOJ, the Department of Homeland Security DHS, and the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment PM-ISE. The NIEM Practical Implementers eLearning Course was built with content from the successful traditional classroom version of the course by leveraging existing capabilities at the National Center for State Courts NCSC and with support from the IJIS Institute, SEARCH, and representatives from private industry.

The NIEM Practical Implementers eLearning Course instructs students on how to use NIEM by breaking it down into two distinct parts. The first part covers Extensible Markup Language XML concepts required to understand and work with NIEM. The second part addresses the higher-level implementation concepts and the steps necessary to build an information exchange using NIEM.

The online learning environment enables students to proceed at their own pace. Instructors will be available to answer any questions along the way, as well as to provide technical support in using the eLearning system.
The eLearning format includes the same case study materials and assignments featured in the traditional classroom version of the course, and instructors will accept and review the assignments to help students fully grasp the NIEM concepts taught during the course. Course topics are the same for both the traditional classroom and the eLearning course and include Anatomy of an XML Exchange, Basic XML and Advanced XML Schema for NIEM, Substitution Groups and Extension Schemas, IEPD Concepts and Exchange Content Modeling, Mapping and Subset Schema, and Packaging, Distribution, and Implementation.

To access and register for the NIEM Practical Implementers eLearning Course, visit Questions about the course can be directed to

IE Browser Security Vulnerability

There is important news that has recently surfaced regarding attacks on the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser versions 5.01, 6, and 7. An article I received reports a huge increase in computer attacks exploiting this vulnerability. Unfortunately, there is not a corrective patch available yet from Microsoft. So you might consider using an alternative browser for general surfing for the near future and yes for you Mac folks you are safe. Please also make sure that your Windows Update either set for automatic update or enable the update notice. Generally at this time I would suggest only using IE for sites that have your full confidence such as your bank and well-known store websites. In other words, be careful out there.

Here is the link to the ComputerWorld magazine article:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

CTC 2009 Call for Ideas

The Court Technology Conference 2009 has posted the "Call for Ideas and Participation" document (PDF) for download.  The conference is looking for presentations in all manner of court related technology, policy, and management subject areas.  The CTC 2009 conference will be held in Denver, Colorado from September 22-24, 2009.

Monday, December 1, 2008

NIEM News - November, 2008

The National Information Exchange Model(NIEM) project has posted the Production Release 2.0 document on their website.  In addition, the NIEM Naming and Design Rules (NDR) 1.3 document has been posted. The document is open for a 30-day public review period.

US Courts Celebrates 20 Years for PACER System

PACER Coming Into Its Own at 20, an article in the November, 2008 edition of The Third Branch newsletter, celebrates the pioneering electronic public access system. The article notes that PACER began life as a dial-up bulletin board system that later migrated to Internet technology. Uptake grew "from a dozen participating courts, PACER has grown to include all bankruptcy, district, and appellate courts. From 9,000 registered user accounts in 1994, PACER grew to 900,000 registered accounts by 2008. This fiscal year alone, PACER added 134,000 new users." It is a true success story.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

E-Discovery Casebook Published

On November 10, 2008, West announced the publication of "Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence: Cases and Materials".  The book was co-authored by the Hon. Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York, US Federal Court and Professor Dan Capra of Fordham University Law School.  The press release notes:

"This casebook is the first in its field on electronic discovery and digital evidence. Judge Scheindlin, the author of the landmark Zubulake opinions, is a leading author on electronic discovery issues in the federal judiciary. Professor Capra is the Reporter to the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules, a co-author of a five-volume treatise on evidence, and the principal author of Rule 502. Members of The Sedona Conference® Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production, which published The Sedona Principles and is cited by courts and litigators on a daily basis, contributed commentary and practical guidance."

For information on ordering the book, go to:

PC Magazine Solutions Articles

Since we share our subscription to PC Magazine here at the NCSC, I recently received an issue that contains the article "Eight Handy Tools in Excel You Probably Don't Know About".  Following that I looked at their Solutions website and found some additional excellent articles that are listed below:

Microsoft Outlook: 9 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do
Customizing Comments and Revisions Tracking in Microsoft Word
Troubleshooting Word Macros
Deal with the Outlook E-Mail Deluge in 4 Steps

And for you Mac users:
Office 2008 for the Mac: 8 Things You Didn't Know

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NCSC Partners with NIEM for Online Course

The November 3, 2008 edition of the NIEM Newsletter contains an article titled: E-Learning Update: NIEM Practical Implementer’s Course Being Rolled Out as Online Course by Eileen Rixmann, Training Manager, IJIS Institute. The article states:

"The NIEM Practical Implementer’s (PI) course is scheduled to be introduced in an online version later this year.  The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the IJIS Institute, and SEARCH have been working for the past year to make this project a reality.  The NCSC has extensive experience in online training and currently offers an array of justice- and court-related classes and certification programs.  The IJIS Institute was instrumental in developing the NIEM classroom material." "The online version of the NIEM PI course is a self-paced course powered by WebCT, an online virtual learning environment.  Because it is not presented in real time, it allows the flexibility required by many developers, implementers, and business analysts."

 Contact with any questions that you may have about the class.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Federal Courts Opens Decision Support System

The October 2008 edition of the US Federal Courts - The Third Branch - newsletter contains an article titled: DSS Opens Data Warehouse.  It notes that " the DSS project consolidates the information from the Probation/Pretrial Services Automated Case Tracking System (PACTS), used by all 94 districts, into the National PACTS Reporting Database." The article notes "Matt Rowland, who heads up DSS development at the AO. It was a challenge to consolidate and report that data in a way that was useful to decision makers. With DSS, we bring in every single record from PACTS. That means we have millions of additional data elements and with new reporting technologies, we can slice and dice the data very easily." Further the article states:  "(l)ogging into Version I of DSS, users can view dashboards on clinical services, post-conviction supervision, pre-sentence reports, pretrial services, and workload. Dashboard is a term used for the Web-based display of data. Like a cars dashboard, it shows how the machine is performing. For example, a probation officer may want to see the average Risk Prediction Index (RPI) score for offenders over a period of time, or the average cost of treatment per offender."

Monday, October 20, 2008

E-Courts Agenda Updated

The NCSC is pleased to announce new program sessions at the E-Courts 2008 conference.  The judge's session will share the experience, benefits, and barriers that have been faced by the Hon. Richard Nielsen, general jurisdiction Circuit Court Judge from Tampa, Florida and the Hon. Mark Singer, limited jurisdiction Court Court Judge from Bradenton, Florida.  The LegalXML Electronic Filing committee will be making a presentation on the new ECF 3.0 standard and how it will benefit the courts.  And two disguished architects, Mr. Larry Smith of Durrant Architects and Mr. Robert Boyle of Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects  will share their experience on the impact of technology in designing and renovating court facilities to take advantage of automation.  To view the new agenda as well as additional information about the conference go to:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

South Dakota Courts Use Video Conferencing

The October 2, 2008 edition of the Sioux Falls South Dakota newspaper, The Argus Leader contains an interesting story titled "Video a key player in S.D. courtrooms" on the use of videoconferencing technology by the courts.  The story notes: " The technology is saving money and time and has helped some suspects bond out of jail faster. But some worry that turning defendants into faces on a TV screen is hurting the justice system."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NASCIO releases "Innovative Funding for State IT" publication

In a press release issued on September 17, 2008 NASCIO released it newest publication “Innovative Funding for State IT: Models, Trends & Perspectives.” A product of NASCIO's Innovative Funding for State IT Working Group, the report’s findings are based on a national survey of state CIOs that examines states' use of innovative or alternative funding models for information technology projects."

"Also intended to update NASCIO’s 2003 publication, “Innovative Funding for Innovative State IT: New Trends and Approaches for State IT Funding,” this report provides state CIOs with information and tools for the facilitation of innovative funding initiatives in their own states that enable delivery of savings, and improved IT services to citizens.

The report is available at".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Draft NIEM Conformance Document Posted

In a press release issued on September 18, 2008, the US Department Justice states that the NIEM Conformance document has been posted to the NIEM web site on the "Downloads" page in the "Technical Documents" section. This document is open for a public review and comment period which ends October 15, 2008. All comments should be sent to the NISS Help Desk

The NIEM Conformance document "provides a normative definition for the meaning of NIEM conformance, what it applies to, and what it does not apply to. It also outlines the benefits of conformance, and suggests sources of information, tools, and help for learning about NIEM conformance and its application."

Friday, September 19, 2008

SubTech 2008 Conference Sessions Available Online

The SubTech 2008 Conference sessions are now available online. The conference was hosted by The Center for Legal and Court Technology and the William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia from July 24-26, 2008.

The SubTech conference series is dedicated to substantive applications of information technology in law, as they are used or studied in legal education.

The historical application categories covered in the conferences include:
  • Computer-aided instruction, broadly conceived
  • Artificial intelligence & knowledge management
  • Practice technologies like document automation
  • Legal research, databases

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 2008 NIEM Newsletter Released

The National Information Exchange Model program (NIEM) has released their September, 2008 newsletter.  Articles include:

Tech Focus: Representing Idiosyncratic Data for NIEM IEPDs
  • Statement for the  the Record of Charles E. Allen: Information Sharing at the Federal, State, and Local Levels, July 23, 2008
  • NIEM Case Study Ideas Needed!
  • NIEM Adoption and Use: New York State- Devleopment of NIEM 2.0 Conformant IEPD for the New York Intrastate Criminal History Report (Rap Sheet)
  • Featured FAQ: What are NIEM Universal and Common Core components?
  • NIEM Clearinghouse Update
  • Upcoming NIEM Trainings

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Utah Justice Court Records Available Online

A press release from the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts issued on September 3, 2008 announces:
The Administrative Office of the Courts has announced the addition of 40 justice courts to the state court’s XChange service. XChange is a database of court case information that is available publicly for a monthly fee. 
The XChange service provides case information—referred to as the court docket—and includes information such as when and what documents have been filed in the case, when and what hearings have been held or are scheduled in the case, when and what judgments have been entered in the case, and the outcome of completed cases. Justice courts hear primarily class B and C misdemeanors, infractions, and small claims cases.

“With the addition of justice courts to the XChange service, court users have access to case information in one central location,” said Utah State Court Administrator Dan Becker. Prior to the database expansion, accessing Justice Court case information required court users to contact each individual Justice Court.

The XChange database is used daily by government agencies, law enforcement, title companies, law firms, media outlets, and others to track the status of court cases. District Court case information has been available through the XChange service for more than 10 years. During the 2008 Legislative Session, a law was enacted that requires all justice courts to use a common case management system by the year 2011. As each Justice Court converts to the court’s common case management system, the XChange service will automatically add that court’s case information."

For more information, go to

Friday, August 29, 2008

Request for Comment on Proposed CourTools Standard

The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and the National Association for Court Management (NACM) solicits review of, and comments on proposed standards for CourTools Information Exchanges
CourTools Information Exchanges

CourTools is a set of ten trial court performance measures developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to provide court managers a balanced perspective on court operations.  The NCSC subsequently developed Global Information Exchange Package Documentation sets (IEPD’s) representing standards for uploading data relating to specific CourTools measures.  IEPD’s have been developed for four of the ten CourTools measures.  For each CourTools measure, two separate IEPD’s were developed to share data between local courts and a state authority (Stage 1) and between the state authority and a national authority (Stage 2).  The CourTools IEPD’s may be downloaded from the NCSC website at:

Direct download links for each IEPD (no longer valid - 12/2/10):
  • Measure 2 – Clearance Rates, Stage 1
  • Measure 2 – Clearance Rates, Stage 2
  • Measure 3 – Time to Disposition, Stage 1
  • Measure 3 – Time to Disposition, Stage 2
  • Measure 4 – Age of Active Pending Caseload, Stage 1
  • Measure 4 – Age of Active Pending Caseload, Stage 2
  • Measure 5 – Trial Date Certainty, Stage 1
  • Measure 5 – Trial Date Certainty, Stage 2
Please direct any comments regarding the proposed standard(s) to NCSC via electronic mail to Paul Embley (

The review period for the above proposed standard(s) will end October 31, 2008.  Comments regarding a “proposed standard” must be received by the end of the review period to assure consideration in advance of JTC’s decision on approval as a “recommended standard”.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Access to Justice Training Set

Rachel Medina at the Center for Access to Justice and Technology has announce they will be holding online training.

*New User Training intended for new users and those that would like a refresher on the basics is scheduled for September 11th.

*Advanced Training is scheduled for September 18th.
For more information see the A2J Author Blog or contact:

Rachel R Medina
Center for Access to Justice & Technology
Chicago-Kent College of Law

NIEM Posts Documents for Review

NIEM User Guide and High-Level Version Architecture (HLVA) Posted for Public Comment
The NIEM User Guide and High-Level Version Architecture (HLVA) document have been posted to the NIEM web site on the "Downloads" page under the "Technical Documents" section. Each document is open for a public review period which ends September 15, 2008.

NIEM User Guide

NIEM High-Level Version Architecture

NIEM is the National Information Exchange Model, is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. It is designed to develop, disseminate and support enterprise-wide information exchange standards and processes that can enable jurisdictions to effectively share critical information in emergency situations, as well as support the day-to-day operations of agencies throughout the nation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Court Generated Documents

Now that everyone uses either word processing software or has the case management system create standard documents electronically, why are most courts only storing the data on paper in the paper file? In my experience there is continually an issue in court case management systems as to new data fields that must be added to either track new things for statistical information or to clarify information such as judgments, sentencing, or orders. So since electronic storage is so very cheap today, why aren't all court electronic generated documents being automatically saved in the court's system?

Is there an issue as to whether the electronic copy is the original or true copy? If so, then the documents should be printed to PDF.

Is there an issue that either a conforming or judge's signature is not affixed to the document? Then a digital signature and file stamp (or watermark) can be used.

Is there an issue regarding control? If so then digital rights management and encryption should be examined as a possible solution.

The point of this is that I believe a case management system should be focused on what its name says, managing cases. Documents can then be appropriately used, searched, and hopefully tagged to supplement the case management process and in the near future be applied for judicial research and use.

Next time, I'll write about self-docketing documents.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Testing Virtual Machines

Recently I received a new laptop computer.  The new laptop is very nice with a wide-format screen, 2 gigabytes of RAM, and a big 160 gigabyte hard drive.  And since my old laptop was still doing fine I decided it was time to experiment with Virtual Machine (VM) software.  For those who might not have kept up on VM technology, simply said it is software that lets one emulate various computer operating systems such as Microsoft Vista or XP, Linux, UNIX, or even MS-DOS on a host computer.  In other words, one creates a “virtual” computer using software within a host system.  For a much more complete explanation of VM software see:

I’ve been testing Sun’s virtual machine software called VirtualBox.  But of course there are many other options to explore such as industry leader VMware as well as Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 software.  Apple Mac users have Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion to choose from.  An excellent list of different VM software is posted on Wikipedia at:

I have posted a picture here to show you that I was able to load MSDOS, OpenSUSE Linux, and Vista on top of the installed Windows XP on my laptop.  Now to be realistic, I would need more RAM (chip) memory in my machine if I were to run all of these are the same time.  But it does seem to do the job quite nicely, and has the advantage of being free to use.  I thought you might enjoy the picture.

Now why are VM’s useful?  I can think of three reasons off the top of my head.  First, the obvious one is if there is a particular piece of software that only available on a particular operating system (OS), one can install that OS (legally licensed of course just like my Vista software) and then install the application.

Second, the ability to run older software programs to retrieve data could be particularly useful.  One might notice in the picture, my old CMS from the 80’s in Arizona is running in the MS-DOS window.  Therefore, if I had a court’s data from that system, I could run search and run reports without needing to convert the data.  It is interesting to note that there is as project is building VMs for older minicomputer systems of the past:

A third reason is to be able to test software on different applications in “clean” OS environments.  One can also emulate client / server networks or browser / server networks within a single machine.  Many VM’s have the ability to create “snapshots” of a system that allows a baseline configuration from which new software or configurations can be tested.  And if the approach doesn’t work; no problem, delete it and try again.  In the near future I am going to build a Linux client working with a Microsoft server to learn the best way to configure such a system.

Using VM?  Let us know and we’ll post your story.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Court Technology Bulletin Archive Online

Last week we received welcome news that our NCSC Knowledge and Information Services team had imaged all of the printed issues of the Court Technology Bulletin in PDF files. The Bulletin was issued in printed format from 1989 to 2003. It is interesting to see how technology has changed and improved over that time span. You can also see how good or bad I was at making technology trend predictions in my articles about the huge COMDEX computer expositions . The index to the CTB issues is located at:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

US Federal Court Test Online Digital Audio Recordings

The June, 2008 edition of The Third Branch newsletter from the US Federal Courts contains an article titled: Pilot Project Update: Digital Audio Recordings Online. The article explains: quotIn a pilot project that began last August, five federal courts are docketing some digital audio recordings to Case Management/Electronic Case Files CM/ECF systems to make the audio files available in the same way written files have long been available on the Internet. The three other courtsnbsp are the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Maine, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama.quot The article also notes: quotA major concern is assuring that personal information including Social Security and financial account numbers, dates of birth, and names of minor childrennot be available on any online digital audio recording. The Judiciary39s privacy policy restricts publication of such information. Each of the pilot courts warns lawyers and litigants in a variety of ways that they can, and should, request that recorded proceedings that include information covered by the privacy policy, or other sensitive matters, not be posted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

US Virgin Islands Court Issues RFP

The Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands has issued a Request for Proposal RFP that seeks an Appellate Case Management solution that incorporates Efiling and Document Management capabilities. The RFP is posted at the following web page:

The Intent to Bid letter is due at 4:00 p.m., Atlantic Standard Time on July 24, 2008 and Proposals are due by 4:00 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on August 18, 2008.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Texas Judicial Commission Adopts Functional Model

In a press release: On June 27, 2008, The Supreme Court of Texas Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families formally adopted a functional requirements reference model to address the special case management needs of courts handling child protection dependency cases. The reference model consists of a number of web pages presented in an interactive format, providing overviews of the court process, timelines, a feature to allow deep drilldown into the particulars of each subprocess, and detailed descriptions of the data requirements.

Culminating nearly two years of work, the functional requirements reference model was developed to provide developers of court case management software an authoritative set of requirements for the creation of specialized modules of court software systems. The Office of Court Administration, headed by Carl Reynolds, undertook the project in 2005 after receiving Court Improvement Program grant funding, which was given to the Supreme Court of Texas by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

In Texas and most other states, child protection cases must follow tightly controlled timelines. The cases may have multiple participants, with the judge acting in a problemsolving role. The reference model may be the most comprehensive description ever created to address the special needs of courts handling child abuse and neglect cases. Judges, clerks, attorneys, and other stakeholders from around Texas worked closely with technologists to identify almost all aspects of child protection case management. This is not a system, but a set of blueprints that will enable any software developer to understand the unique court process utilized in this type of case to write the software, said Reynolds.

The Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families is chaired by Justice Harriet OrsquoNeill of the Supreme Court of Texas. Judge Darlene Byrne of Travis County chaired the Technology Committee, which oversaw the development of the functional requirements reference model. It is available on the Commission website, at: .

Monday, July 7, 2008

Court Tech Bulletin Hit with SQL Injection Attack and Other Items

On approximately June 21, 2008, the Court Technology Bulletin website was taken down with an SQL virus code injection attack. We apologize for all for any inconvenience that this caused. This site has been repaired and further security measures instituted. As a result, we also lost all of the articles that we posted for the month of June 1. A summary of some of these articles are posted below.

Illinois Courts Announce E-Business Initiative 6/10/08
In a press release, Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas of the Illinois Supreme Court announced on May 23, 2008 a wide ranging plan to build a technological infrastructure that would link electronically all the courts in the state's 23 judicial circuits and 102 counties.quot For more information, an E-Business in the Illinois Judiciary website has been posted at:

Vermont Courts Announce Case Management System RFP 6/13/08
The State of Vermont Judiciary announced the posting of a Request for Proposal RFP for a new, consolidated, statewide courts case management, document management, and Efiling solution VCase. The RFP and Attachment files are posted on the Vermont BusinessToBusiness website at:

Nebraska Starts Civil E-Filing 6/20/08
In a press release, quotthe Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts AOC, in collaboration with, has launched a new online system for attorneys to file new civil cases and to make subsequent filings on open cases. Attorneys who subscribe to are eligible to use the Efiling system. There are no addditional fees to file a case online. The normal court fees for filing cases are transferred electronically from the attorney's account, to the court of filing. The Nebraska Lawyer Magazine's Bar Bytes column for May, 2008 by William E. Olson contains additional information on the new system.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Guam Issues RFP

The Judiciary of Guam has issued a Request for Proposal "To Furnish, Deliver and Install a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Communications Message Processor System/Computerized Criminal History Records Application.  Responses are due June 9, 2008.  For questions or a copy of the RFP please contact:

Mr. Reymond L.G. Taimanglo
Procurement and Fac. Mgt. Administrator
Procurement and Fac. Mgt. Division
Guam Judicial Center
120 West O'Brien Drive
Hagatna, Guam 96910
Telephone (671)475-3175/3393
Fax: (671)477-8009

Oregon Courts Receive Automation Funding

Judge Michael Marcus in Oregon passed along this information from the court's Chief Information Officer, Bud Borja:

"The Oregon Judicial Department’s efforts to obtaining funding for the Oregon eCourt program earlier this year was successful. Two bills passed in the February 2008, Supplement Session provided 24 million in debt financing for Oregon eCourt.  In addition, Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) has authority to spend $2 million from the Collections Account funds that have been set aside for a financial system eplacement.  Receiving this funding allows OJD to move forward with the replacement of our existing case and financial management systems and to bring modern business tools and practices into the Oregon courts."

Video of testimony before the legislature supporting the eCourts initivative has been posted on YouTube.  Here are links to the video clips:

Judges explain eCourt Urgency:

TCA explains eCourt Urgency:

How eCourt improves sentencing:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Juvenile Information Sharing Webinar On Tap

The Center for Network Development in conjunction with the Juvenile Information Sharing Project has announced that will present a webinar supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) on June 19, 2008 from 1:00-2:00 PM on the framework for analyzing state laws as recommended in the Guidelines for Juvenile Information Sharing.

The announcement listed the following learning objectives for the session:
  • What state law permits and requires as to juvenile record sharing
  • Statutory models that authorize multiple agency cooperation
  • Interagency agreements and working memoranda of understanding
  • About an important online resource
The announcement also noted that "there is no fee to participate and registration is limited to 100 persons.  One can register online at  The deadline for registering is June 13, 2008."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Federal Court Creates Mobile Website

The April, 2008 edition of The Third Branch newsletter from the US Federal Courts contains an article titled "District Court Offers Mobile Version of Its Website". The article begins:
"Like most federal courts, the Northern District of Illinois created its website long before the advent of e-filing and the proliferation of hand-held computers."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jonathan Zittrain Interview

CTC6 keynote speaker, Oxford/Harvard Professor Jonathan Zittrain was interviewed on the Charlie Rose show on May13, 2008. To view the video from the show click here.

E-Courts 2008 Online Registration Available

Online registration for this year's E-Courts Conference is now available.  The conference will take place December 8-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our theme is Getting the Job Done and our main focus will be on the real-life benefits that electronic documents, communications, and data systems offer your court. In addition to important sessions providing information on how to manage budgetary constraints while trying to maintain optimal productivity and quality of justice, the conference will again feature a manageable vendor exhibit with vendor showcase sessions. This is the one court technology event where you can actually take time to sit down and talk one-on-one with the technology vendors about your ideas and plans for improving your court. 

Friday, May 9, 2008

New Services Task Team Created

The Global Infrastructure/Standards Working Group (GISWG) has initiated a Services Task Team (STT) for the Justice Reference Architecture (JRA)with the help of the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (DOJ BJA).  The task team is being managed as a joint project by IJIS, NCSC and SEARCH.  Jim Douglas from SEARCH chairs the STT.  Their first JRA service definitions will be for fusion center suspicious activity reports and fingerprint/biometric services.  State and local justice projects using the JRA are underway in Maine, New York, Utah and Illinois.  Nevada is also considering its use for a court data integration project. For more on GISWG go to their website at:

NIEM Technical Advisory Committee Update

NCSC VP for Research and Technology, Tom Clarke reports that the NIEM Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) met recently and finished work on several important documents, while continuing work on other key policies.  The committee has defined a comprehensive list of quality assurance measures for NIEM, defined a comprehensive set of tool requirements in support of NIEM, and agreed on a conceptual approach that enables NIEM domains to issue their own version updates between major NIEM releases. 

The committee also completed work on the Naming and Design Rules (NDR) Version 1.3, which provides conformance guidance for the NIEM data model and IEPD's built using it.  In the coming months, NTAC will work with the other NIEM governance committees to prioritize the implementation of quality assurance measures and tool interface definitions.  Finally, NTAC recommends that no major NIEM release occur before at least early 2010.

Joint Technology Committee Approves E-Filing Standard Update

The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of COSCA and NACM recently approved the use of the OASIS LegalXML Electronic Court Filing (ECF) Standard Version 3.1 after technical review by the Court Information Technology Officers' Consortium (CITOC).  The LegalXML Technical Committee is on the verge of issuing Version 4.0, which adds several case types and brings the standard into full compliance with both NIEM 2.0 and the Justice Reference Architecture.  We also understand that there are also several pilots of the e-filing technical standard underway in state and local court systems.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Trends Article on Tablet PCs

The NCSC's Trends articles has introduced an article on Tablet Personal Computers with pictures of the format options, and links to three articles posted by an attorney that uses them. In addition, one of the articles has an interesting note on a Tablet PC forms software application that could be useful in the courtroom.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NAJIS Conference Scheduled

The National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS) has scheduled their annual conference for September 23-26, 2008 at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their E-mail states: "Designed by practitioners for practitioners.  This is a law and justice technology professional conference that delivers unprecedented objectivity, quality, and quantity of information exchanged through the NAJIS membership." Having been a member of NAJIS I can attest to the usefulness of this conference and to the helpfulness of the associations membership.

NIEM National Training Scheduled

The IJIS Institute has scheduled national XML and NIEM training in Ashburn, Virginia from May 5-9 and June 9-12.  For more information contact Samantha Styles.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Access to Justice 2.0 is Announced

We received this announcement from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Center for Access to Justice and Technology:


What’s special about 2.0?

Several enhancements, many of which were suggested by A2J Author™ users, have been included in Version 2.0. While some of the improvements in 2.0 face the pro se users of the A2J Guided Interviews™, most of the improvements make the tool more efficient and easier for the authoring community to use.
New Features for the authors of A2J Guided Interviews™ include the ability to:

  • set multiple variables in a single condition;
  • round and truncate numbers;
  • script macros for sign text and field labels;
  • script functions in either lowercase or uppercase letters;
  • add unlinked questions to an interview;
  • add or insert automatically numbered questions without
  • disturbing the existing numbering scheme; and,
  • for replicated interviews, clear all audio file references if they do not apply to the current interview.
Developers will also find that it is much easier to move between screens in the program. Many other fixes and formatting changes will make authoring of A2J Guided Interviews more efficient for developers. Developers will be able to sort text and number lists making selection from a multiple choice list easier for the pro se user.
The most prominent new 2.0 feature aimed at the user is an alternative end graphic. This feature provides the developer the ability to exchange the traditional courthouse graphic for an alternative graphic designated by the author. With the increasing popularity of the program as a means to conduct online web intake, programs will now be able to designate a graphic more in tune with the purpose of the interview.
While we are very proud to get you version 2.0, we are already hard at work on version 3.0, which promises to eclipse any of the previous versions of the software. Version 3.0 will bring video and graphics into the A2J Author interface and will deliver the import question(s) function.

Want to learn more?

Attend the next A2J Author Developer Call! We will discuss in more detail the new features and functions of A2J Author 2.0 and components of the A2J Author 2.0 Starter-Kit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 10:00 a.m. (CDT)
Register for the Developer Call here:

Ready to upgrade to 2.0?
A2J Author™ 2.0 can be downloaded at the following location:

Is the “national server” (NPADO) upgraded with 2.0?

YES. The National Public Automated Documents Online server has been upgraded with A2J Viewer 2.0, the viewer through which all of your A2J Guided Interviews will be launched on the web. Version 2.0 of the “Viewer” should not have any adverse effect on A2J Guided Interviews created in either A2J Author 2.0 or any previous version of A2J Author.

Please be ALERT to the following:

While the A2J Viewer has been tested on the development server, we do not know exactly which of the thousands of interviews uploaded to the national server are in production. It is impossible for us to test all “live” interviews on the production server. Therefore, as introduction of new software always presents some risks, we recommend that you take some time this week, or as soon as possible, to test run those interviews which are in production. It would be worth everyone’s peace of mind, and very helpful to us, to at least check those interviews that receive a lot of traffic. Please notify our office immediately if you notice any inconsistencies, by phone (312-906-5328) or email (
Interested in attending A2J Author 2.0 Training?

A number of training sessions have been scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Each training session will include a new user component and an advanced component. You are welcome to attend the entire session or the first or second half. Each session will be held at 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. (CST). The agenda for each session is as follows:

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (CST)
The first hour: New User Introduction to A2J Author 2.0
*Navigating A2J Author
*Adding, Inserting & Cloning Questions
*Designing Questions in A2J Author
*Adding an Alternative Graphic

1:00 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. (CST)
5-minute break

1:05 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
The second hour: “Stay after class” to learn advanced features
*Writing Conditions in 2.0
*Working with the “A2J Step” Program Variable
*Using Macros to Set Multiple Choice Labels
*Other New Features Q&A

SESSION #1 - April 9, 2008, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
Go here to register:
SESSION #2 - April 11, 2008, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
Go here to register:
SESSION #3 - April 15, 2008, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
Go here to register:
SESSION #4 - April 16, 2008, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
Go here to register:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

North Dakota Judicial Branch Issues RFP

The State of North Dakota, Unified Judicial Branch issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 for a statewide implementation of a statewide Case Management Systems (CMS) to replace the exisiting Unified Court InformationSystem application.  Proposals are due on May 21, 2008.  To download the RFP and related documents go to:

New CMS Makes Strides in California Courts

A press release from the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts describes progress on their CMS project:

New Case Management System Makes Strides in California Courts

San Francisco – The Superior Court of San Joaquin County yesterday became the most recent trial court in California to launch the California Court Case Management System (CCMS), a new technology initiative aimed at modernizing the state judicial branch and promoting information sharing among courts and other justice system agencies.

CCMS already has been launched in Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, and Ventura Counties. Sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), CCMS will enable all trial courts to use one application for all case categories.

The Superior Court of San Joaquin County is the first to use the system for all case types starting on day one, including civil, small claims, probate, and mental health case types.

By the end of 2012, all 58 superior courts will be using CCMS to provide better service to the public and enhance sharing of information with justice partners such as the Department of Justice and the 
Department of Child Support Services.

History of Case Management System

California’s 58 superior courts are currently using about 70 different case management systems, from traditional paper filing systems to customized software programs.

In 2001, an assessment showed that a number of courts were facing critical needs because of outdated systems, deficient technical support, the inability to meet legislative and reporting requirements, and the high cost of maintenance. With the approval of the Judicial Council, the AOC launched the CCMS project a year later to address these concerns.

A primary goal of the CCMS project is to make the courts “venue transparent,” giving court users and the public the ability to conduct business from any location in California. This project supports the Judicial Council’s goal to modernize state courts and to establish statewide technology initiatives that better manage court operations and resources.

For more information on CCMS, see the California Courts Web site:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Federal Courts IT Initiatives for 2008

 The Third Branch US Federal Courts newsletter for February, 2008 contains an article titled: Local IT Initiatives Funded for FY 2008.  The article discusses four project that are funded under the Edwin L. Nelson Local IT Initiatives Grant Program.  The article states: "the IT grand program encourages and promotes local court technology innovations that can be shared with other courts".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

E-Courts 2008 Agenda Available

An update to the E-Courts 2008 conference agenda has been posted to the conference website. The E-Courts conference will be held from December 8-10, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there are a few details remaining to be finalized, the agenda will give one a good idea of this years conference content. It is anticipated that the conference session descriptions will be available soon.

Montgomery County, Ohio E-Filing Blog

Our good friend, James Drubert, the Court Administrator at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in Dayton, Ohio shares that they have started a blog on their E-filing project and related E-filing issues. To read and share ideas on their blog, go to:

Friday, March 14, 2008

AIIM 2008 Report

Last week I visited the AIIM 2008 conference and exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts.  I saw several items that may be of interest to our friends in the court community.  First, I am a fan of straight path scanners.  Anything that keeps paper from leaving its original “flat orientation” is a good idea. One example is the HP Scanjet 7800 that is rated at 25 pages per minute, but can also scan two-sided with one pass and has a 50 page document feeder.  It has some nice software that comes with it.  Second, many of us are trying to create and post online forms.  The company that makes the Foxit PDF reader program has a Form Designer Program available for $79.  At that price one might as well try it.  And finally, for those courts that are undertaking scanning projects that involve docket, registry, or minute books, one might be interested in a scanner that automatically scans and turns the pages by itself by Kirtas Technologies.  They also have a service bureau if one wants to use the scanning system for a limited job.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Norfolk Virginia Plans Digital Files

An article titled Norfolk court clerk bytes off ambitious goal: paperless files published last year in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper; the Clerk of Circuit Court in Norfolk, Virginia, George Schaefer, describes the benefits of converting from a paper to digital system.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ingham County Michigan E-Court Plans

The February 3, 2008 edition of the Lansing State Journal in Lansing Michigan contains an article titled: Ingham Co. plans to put court records on Internet.  The article notes "Under the concept, most circuit court documents - such as lawsuits and court motions - would be scanned into a system at the courthouse and be viewable online."

Seattle Bike Messengers a Dying Breed

The February 25, 2008 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper in Seattle, Washington describes in an article titled: "The plea of a dying breed: Don't kill the bike messengers" the impact of E-mail and E-filing is having on their business.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Internet Overhaul Begins

For our more technical friends out there, earlier this month (as described in this article from the BBC) the master Internet record addresses started the long process of being upgraded from the standard Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) to Version 6 (IPv6). The upgrade is intended to provide a huge number of new individual addresses for computers and other devices to be registered on the Internet but, it is also meant to provide other technological upgrades. The Wikipedia article on IPv6 provides an excellent summary of these benefits.
What does this mean to you in the near future? Not very much except for technical managers purchasing new networking equipment. But over time the upgrade provides an improved foundation for the growth of the Net.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NCSC Partners With Lockheed Martin for FBI Project

Press Release:

On February 12th, 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) awarded Lockheed Martin a ten-year, $1 billion contract today to develop and maintain the Bureau’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, a multi-modal, state-of–the-art biometrics system for use by state, local and federal authorities. The Lockheed Martin-led team includes Accenture, BAE Systems Information Technology Inc., Global Science & Technology (GST), Innovative Management & Technology Services (IMTS), Platinum Solutions and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). 

"The NGI system will expand fingerprint capacity, doubling the size of the current database, and will now also include palm prints, iris and facial recognition capabilities.  Additionally, the system requires a significant degree of technical flexibility in order to accommodate other biometric modalities that may mature and become important to law enforcement efforts in the future."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

InnovAction Award Competition Announced

From our friend Andy Atkins at the University of Florida Levin College of Law:

The College of Law Practice Management is excited to announce the "official" launch of our 2008 InnovAction Awards.  We are looking for lawyers, law firms, and other deliverers of legal services who are engaged in some extraordinary innovative efforts.  The goal of the Awards is to demonstrate to the legal community what can be created when passionate professionals with big ideas are determined to solve the business challenges faced in today’s competitive markets.

Award entries will be judged on the basis of four primary criteria:

1.  Absence of precedent (never been done or done quite this way before) 2.  Evidence of action (the innovative idea was transformed into action and not merely reflective of best intentions) 3.  Effectiveness of innovation (there is some measurable outcome that indicates the innovation is accomplishing what it was intended to do) 4.  Action must have taken place within no more than three years prior to this entry.

Any lawyer, law firm, or entity providing legal services to clients anywhere in the world is eligible.  Further information about the awards, past winners, eligibility rules, and entry forms are
available at  

The 2008 InnovAction Awards are sponsored by the following organizations and companies which have a passion for innovation.

Platinum Sponsors: Australian Lawyers Weekly and Greenfield/Belser Ltd.
Gold Sponsors: ABA Law Practice Management Section; The Canadian Bar Association; International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and Levick Strategic Communications.
Silver Sponsors: Altman Weil, Inc.; Association of Legal Administrators and Project Leadership Associates.

Uniform Electronic Discovery Rules website

The University of Pennsylvania Law School, Biddle Law Library is hosting a website containing information on the Uniform Rules Relating to the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information and much more. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has partnered with the library to post this and much more information.  Click here to go to their website.

Friday, February 1, 2008

CATO Updates Website

The Conference of Appellate Technology Officials (CATO) announced that they had recently updated their website at:  The website also contains information on their Annual Conference scheduled for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in August.

NIEM Leader Recognized

The February 1, 2008 NIEM Newsletter contained an article regarding Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff's speech recognizing CIO, Ms. Donna Roy's efforts.  The article stated:

"In a speech to the DHS Law Enforcement Shared Mission Community Conference, Secretary Michael Chertoff took the time to recognize the important work of the Office of the CIO in DHS in promoting information sharing.  He noted that “enterprise data management is an essential ingredient of an effective information sharing program, and the work of OCIO, and in particular Donna Roy, deserves recognition."

Sterns County Minnesota Tests E-Court Ideas

The St. Cloud Times in Minnesota notes in an article titled "Courts look to improve availability and reduce paper" the efforts in Sterns County State's Attorney and District Court to move toward electronic support systems.  One example listed is that "Stearns County already has wired a courtroom that one day could allow attorneys to leave many of their paper files behind and rely instead on digital case files in juvenile court hearings. It's a small step toward what could be the court system of the future — largely paperless and accessible by attorneys, judges, court staff and the public via computer."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

National Offender Defendant System

The December , 2007 edition of US Federal Courts newsletter, The Third Branch contains an article on the National Offender Defendant System (NODS). "It combines access to Judiciary personnel on PeopleFinder, which helps locate probation and pretrial services officers, as well as all the defendant/offender information on the Probation/Pretrial Services Automated Case Tracking System (PACTS), all the case information on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and violations in the Central Violations Bureau’s system." The article goes on to state: "NODS was originally designed exclusively for use by Judiciary staff, but according to" (Chief of the Probation and Pretrial Services Technology Division, Nick) "DiSabatino, another version—with limited features—is in the works for an external audience. The outside version would, for example, link to a limited version of PeopleFinder, and not link to PACER."

Friday, January 18, 2008

NIEM - Did You Know?

Did you know that the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) website contains links to resources and tools that can help you work with the standard?  One resource is the NIEM Mapping Tool developed by Georgia Tech Research Institute.  It will let you "create and exchange, associate a domain model with that exchange, map the domain model to NIEM, and generate artifacts - such as mapping reports, wantlists, and schemas - based on that mapping." To go to the Mapping Tool website, click here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Technology to Watch

We recommend that court technology planners monitor the progress and implications of the upcoming auction of radio frequency spectrum and the creation of a shared public safety wireless broadband network by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust.

On November 15, 2007 the US Federal Communications Commission selected the non-profit Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation (PSST) to hold the license for 10 MHz of public safety radio spectrum designated for nationwide wireless broadband use.  The concept for the broadband network “is to have priority access for public safety to a nationwide, interoperable wireless broadband network that incorporates the latest technologies in use by the private sector”.  As noted in an article in Police Chief Magazine by PSST Chairman, Chief Harlin McEwen these benefits potentially include:
  • “Broadband data services (such as text messaging, photos, diagrams, and streaming video) currently unavailable in existing public safety land mobile systems”
  • “A hardened public safety network with infrastructure built to withstand local natural hazards (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.) that would include strengthened towers and backup power with fuel supplies to withstand long-term outages of public power sources”
  • “Nationwide roaming and interoperability for local, state, and federal public safety agencies (police, fire, and emergency medical services) and other emergency services such as transportation, health care, and utilities”
  • “Access to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) similar to current commercial cellular services”
  • “Push-to-talk, one-to-one, and one-to-many radio capabilities that would provide a backup to (but would not replace) traditional public safety land mobile mission-critical voice systems”
  • “Access to satellite services to provide reliable nationwide communications where terrestrial services either do not exist or are temporarily out of service”
For more information see the Public Safety Spectrum Trust website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Massachusetts Courts Laud Videoconferencing

An article titled "Patchy reception for TV justice" by the Boston Herald newspaper noted that the Massachusetts trial courts have been using videoconferencing technology since 1993.  However, despite it's success and resulting cost savings "neither the trial court nor the prison system have plans to expand the program".

Monday, January 7, 2008

Federal Courts Provide Free Records Access

The December, 2007 edition of The Third Branch newsletter contained an article on a pilot program being offered by the Administrative Office of the US Courts and the US Government Printing Office to provide "free public access to federal court records available at 16 libraries in 14 states."  The article goes on to state:

"The project offers free access to the federal Judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at 16 participating federal depository libraries. PACER ( allows users to obtain case file documents, listings of all case parties, judgments, and other information from district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts online, with the data immediately available for printing or downloading."

E-Courts 2008 Conference

E-Courts 2008 will be held at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada from December 8-10.   Session subject matter will include criminal case E-filing; electronic record archiving; and electronic information presentation.  Watch the conference website  for more information at:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

XML/NIEM Training Available

We learned from Scott Chontow of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Policy & Planning Staff that there are approximately 10 training slots available for XML/NIEM training session to be held February 11-15, 2008 at the IJIS Institute in Northern Virginia. For more information contact Mr. Chontow via e-mail at:

NIEM Executive Briefing Webinar available

Press release:

NIEM Executive Briefing, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was delivered via Webinar on November 14, 2007. The audio recording with slides is now available at: ew?id=8DBB9B&pw=c_2M%5Cb

To view the Webinar recording:
  1. Select the "View Recording" link.
  2. Enter first and last name in the appropriate fields.
  3. Enter first and last name in the appropriate fields.
  4. Enter the e-mail address and company name in the appropriate fields.
  5. Select "View Recording."
  6. The briefing will begin with both audio and visual recordings.

NASCIO Releases Latest in Series on Records Management and Digital Preservation

Press release:
(LEXINGTON, KY) – The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is pleased to announce the release of Part III in the series on electronic records management and digital preservation: protecting the knowledge assets of the state government enterprise. A product of NASCIO’s Enterprise Architecture Committee, this research brief was completed to focus on strategies and technological solutions for managing the proliferation of electronic records. Part III in the series is now available at:

New York Court's CTO Honored

In it's December 10, 2008 edition, Computerworld magazine has honored New York State Unified Court System Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Sheng Guo as one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders 2008.  The magazine recognized his work in the installation of Wi-Fi access points "in the state's 250 courthouses".  The article goes on to quote: "Guo says he believes the state should provide Wi-Fi in courthouses for free as a public service.  If the state continued to charge for Wi-Fi, he says, the initiative to expand would have failed."