Recently I've been looking at various court's efforts to provide information via mobile devices (Smart Phones and Pad/Tablet Computers) and there is some very nice work out there.
There seems to be two approaches. First, as noted before, a few courts have developed actual iPhone and Android "Apps" to provide public access services. While the second approach is to provide mobile format website support. Here are some examples that we found this week.
Toledo Municipal Court, Ohio Courtwatch (App)
As noted on the app's web page, the system provides:
"1. Search case information within the Toledo Municipal Court system for both civil and criminal/traffic divisions. Results include full journal entries, status of case, suit amounts, plaintiff/defendant information, attorney information, links to scanned documents, links to priors, and the ability to make payments on payable items.
2. View the court schedule for the Toledo Municipal Court for both the Civil and Criminal/Traffic Divisions."
The Clerk of the Toledo Municipal Court, Vallie Bowman-English is to be congratulated for this effort.
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (App)
Their mobile app website states:
"Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer offers these mobile apps designed 1) To make it easier for citizens to access real-time election results searchable by a) date of election, b) candidate, and c) office or proposition; 2) To make jury service more convenient for jurors, their families, and their employers to a) confirm the need to appear for jury service, b) reschedule the date of jury service, and c) if age 70 or over, apply for a permanent exemption from service; and 3) to enhance attorneys’ practices by, among other things, making every lawyer and his/her staff more productive and more responsive to clients’ needs with features that include a) searchable docket calendars for the 24th JDC and Jefferson Parish First and Second Parish Courts, b) commonly-used forms, c) fee schedules, and d) an office telephone directory with office locations.
Other features include access to 1) the instructional jury service video presented to prospective jurors each morning in the courthouse in Gretna, and 2) contacts for all divisions of the clerk of court’s office, 3) polling place locations, and 4) maps of election districts."
South Carolina Judicial Department (Web)
As announced on their website in Court News:
"On April 30th, the South Carolina Judicial Department launched a new webserver. This move allowed SCJD to implement a new touch menu that works well on the iPad. The website is now set up to display a “touch” menu for visitors who are using an iPad and a “click” menu for those using a computer. Deb Rosengrant, Web Developer, researched the options for going iPad friendly and implemented the necessary changes across the site. Tina Newhouse, Server Administrator, was responsible for setting up and configuring the development and production servers. In addition, our site now has its own Apple Touch Icon which is displayed on the iPad for any visitor who adds a link to www.sccourts.org on their home screen."
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Jury Service (Web)
A press release dated March 27, 2012 describes their new system:
"Those called for jury service can log onto jury.mecklenburgcountync.gov as an alternative to contacting the Trial Court Administrator’s (TCA) Jury Management Office by phone or mail. The website will automatically detect the existence of a mobile device and redirect the user to the mobile site. Citizens can still use the full-featured public Jury Manager website on any computer, and they also have the option of using the full site by clicking the "View Full Site" link at the top of the Mobile website.
The new mobile app offers many helpful features for jurors, including:
• Ability to search for jury summons by juror ID or social security number
• Confirm juror status and reporting date
• Request a deferral for jury duty
• Create an email reminder for jury service"
And last, my colleague here at the NCSC, Nora Sydow, the editor of our "Connected" newsletter has posted the results of a survey of Administrative Office of the Courts and High Courts using social media as of May 11, 2012. Interesting reading.