Monday, March 14, 2011

Court Automation Projects Critiqued

Courts automation projects can greatly benefit from receiving well-reasoned and researched critiques.   Two projects recently received such input.

California CCMS

The California Court Case Management System audit report was published by the California State Auditor in February, 2011.  The Los Angeles Times newspaper noted in an article about the report :

“The state Judicial Council and court systems have spent $407 million so far on developing the system and have installed a limited version in seven counties, including Los Angeles and Sacramento. They plan to launch the full system in three counties — Ventura, San Diego and San Luis Obispo — as a next step.”

The California AOC responded to the report noting that they will adopt all of the audit report recommendations.  Justice Terence L. Bruiniers, chairman of the Judicial Council’s CCMS Executive Committee noted:

“We have increased Judicial Council oversight of the project; expanded the participation of justices, judges, court administrators, attorneys, and justice partners; and created a project management office.”

Additional information regarding the system and reports are posted at the California AOC CCMS website:

Federal Court PACER

Prof. Stephen Schultze and graduate student, Tim Lee, of the Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy recently made a presentation at the New York University School of Law on the US Federal Court’s online systems and specifically PACER.  The presentation was video recorded and is available for online viewing (requires Microsoft Silverlight)

The presentation made several interesting points regarding current systems:

1. Current PACER limitations
2. Document authentication
3. Lack of document and data structure (XML)
4. The proposal to allow the private (and non-profit) world access to have bulk access to the information
5. A number of problems regarding sensitive and private information made available in PACER and options for corrective action.

There were also several points made regarding automation fees and budgets require a more extensive discussion for a later CTB article.

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