Thursday, March 22, 2012

This and That in Court Tech, March 2012 Edition

News about state E-filing legislation, OCR in PDF readers, San Francisco Superior Court E-filing RFP, Federal Courts CM/ECF progress, Microsoft, the E-Courts 2012 conference website, and the Wired Magazine's future of the process server.

State E-filing Legislation List Compiled

Bill Raftery, Editor of the NCSC Gavel to Gavel blog has compiled a formidable list of 2012 proposed court E-filing legislation from California, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

OCR in PDF Readers?

Did you know that both Adobe Acrobat Pro and PDF X-Change Pro have optical character recognition capabilities?  I tried it and it worked... well!

San Francisco issues RFP for E-filing System

According to a Courthouse News Service article on March 6, 2012, "San Francisco Superior Court has called for bids on a contract to set up a system so lawyers can file their documents through the web."  "According to terms announced last week, San Francisco's trial court is looking for a "partnership" with a private contractor. It looks like the cost of that partnership will be paid by lawyers who e-file documents."

Federal Court CM/ECF News

The US Federal Court's Third Branch Newsletter in a February, 2012 article describes the work that has been done on planning for the next generation of US Federal Court automation.  The article notes:
"Judges and court staff nationwide have worked with the Administrative Office (AO) for more than two years to identify greater efficiencies and define new functional requirements. Still ahead are design, coding, testing, and implementation phases. 
“Next Gen is perhaps the largest-scope project ever undertaken by the Administrative Office and court community,” said Judge Julie Robinson (D. Kan.), chair of the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management. “There is extensive involvement of the court community, in numbers of people participating, and in the depth and significance of their work and contributions.” 
Robinson said more than 50 AO staff members have been working, many of them nearly full-time, on the labor-intensive first phase of Next Gen. She added that more than 150 judges, law clerks, clerks of court, information technology staff, and other court employees from all court types have devoted significant hours. The number of people working on Next Gen on a daily basis will shrink during the design phase, “but there will continue to be substantial personnel and resources devoted to the project,” Robinson said.
The Court Technology Bulletin will have more on this later this year.

One of our favorite user interface videos in recent years was a TED Conference presentation by Blaise Aquera y Arcas of Microsoft who demonstrated what was then known as SeaDragon technology (later called Deep Zoom).  Microsoft has now posted a website called (requires Silverlight plug-in) to play with the tech.  We would love to see a court or court vendor use this tech to navigate through court files and evidence.

E-Courts 2012 website

We are very busy putting together the education program for this December's E-Courts 2012 conference.  Watch the conference website at: for news and updates.

The Future of Process Service

And finally, for fun, Wired Magazine ran a question/contest on the Future of Process Service.  Their chosen result ran on page 130 of their April, 2012 edition and is shown here.

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