Thursday, October 22, 2009

US Federal Courts Move Forward on Automation

On October 9, 2009 the US Federal Courts newsroom website noted the many accomplishments achieved by the CM/ECF system.  The release states:

The federal judiciary's Case Management/Electronic Case Files CM/ECF project revolutionized the way in which the federal courts manage their cases and documents. This easy-to-use system allows attorneys to file documents directly with the court over the Internet and allows courts to file, store, and manage their case files in an easy-to-access, transparent way.
The September, 2009 edition of The Third Branch Newsletter also contained two articles of interest.  The first, Electronic Public Access Program/PACER Assessment Begun, notes:

The Judiciary’s Electronic Public Access Program is looking for user input. The program, which recently celebrated its one-millionth Public Access to Court Electronic Records PACER subscriber, has launched a year-long, comprehensive assessment to identify potential enhancements to existing and new public access services.
The newsletter also contained an article titled: "Reminder to Redact".  As most everyone who works with electronic document information is aware, redaction of sensitive private information is critical.  The article describes the Federal Courts approach to the issue.  It begins:

"Attorneys using the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files CM/ECF system will find they must acknowledge a reminder to redact private information from documents before they access the system. It is part of the Judiciary’s on-going effort to protect privacy in publicly accessible court records by reminding attorneys that it is their responsibility to comply with redaction rules."

"A message is displayed when an attorney logs in to CM/ECF. The attorney is required to check a box on the last line of the reminder to show they have read it. The message also provides links to the Federal Rules regarding redaction. In addition, another reminder message has been added to the screen where the attorney finalizes submission of the filed document. The message asks: 'Have you redacted?'”