Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Last Mile - Tyler “Judge Edition” Report

One of the leading commercial court automation companies, Tyler Technologies reports on their “SessionWorks Judge Edition” program.

Courtesy of the Oregon eCourt The QUARTERLY newsletter

Being the “Year of the Judge” in court technology, the CTB thought that it was time to check in with Tyler Technologies regarding the Odyssey SessionWorks Judge Edition program that is one of the systems traveling "the last mile" to the fully electronic court.  Thanks to their Director of Marketing, Michael Kleiman for the following report:

1. Installation - As in other “E-Bench” efforts it layers on top of the CCMS and, with similar programs it is typically used on the bench with an HP TouchSmart PC. But the touch screen pc can also be connected and run from other PCs in the courtroom.

2. Adoption Cycle – Tyler reports that there are about a dozen clients committed to implementing Judge Edition.  They are spread across four states and with already hundreds of courtrooms using an electronic case file from the bench.  Tyler is now starting to move out of the early adopter phase and into more mainstream deployment with many more courtrooms in the queue. Meanwhile early adopters are asking about more mobile access to their case files for access from home and notebook computers.  And work has begun on additional mobile solutions for tablets.

3. Current Use – Most judges and clerks use Judge Edition in the courtroom.  But some now prepare for court on their laptops.  In most cases judges are using the product by themselves and therefore do not rely on a clerk to retrieve the case information for them.

4. Types of Users – As part of Tyler’s planning/development process they think about users as fitting into several different profiles.  These include the eager adopter, the willing participant, and the resistant objector.  We are now deploying among willing participants and in some cases resistant objectors.  Because the system is really very simple to use we are finding that with a little encouragement the resistors have become willing participants.  This is because system trainers report that it really only takes judges between 15 and 30 minutes to learn).

5. Biggest Benefits – Obviously eliminating paper and all the efficiencies that ensue is the primary benefit.  Some counties using Judge Edition no longer create a case file, and more will follow.  In order to get judges on board some court clerks are refusing to print case files for judges, and do not seem to be getting significant resistance.  The other obvious benefit is better decisions because information is at everyone’s fingertips.  This is particularly true in Tyler’s statewide Odyssey CCMS deployments where users have immediate access to electronic case information and scanned images from across the state.

5. Examples/Status

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is they system's largest deployment to date. They are rolling Judge Edition out statewide and already have 300 instances installed.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper wrote a story, “No more paper chase in Dakota County courts?” (with pictures) when it was first installed in March, 2011.

Lee County, Florida has been using an electronic case file on the bench since 2006.  They are currently in the process of converting their “last mile” eBench system for all their judges to SessionWorks Judge Edition.  That said they have seen tremendous results from their original system.  An ROI analysis estimates savings of approximately $100K per judge annually.  An article with an accompanying amusing picture, "Lee County courts push paper out" was posted by WTSP television on January 17, 2012.

Collin County, Texas – All of their district courtrooms have deployed the SessionWorks Judge Edition. It is now being rolled out to all the county courtrooms.

Oregon Judicial Department (nice website BTW) – The State of Oregon courts are implementing SessionWorks Judge Edition statewide in what is called their eCourt initiative.  Oregon went live with their first county in June of this year – including with Judge Edition.  They have published information about the implementation of the project in The Quarterly, Oregon eCourt edition (PDF).  And the CTB previously noted this article (again with pictures) from Oregon Public Broadcasting news from June 8, 2012.

Michael Kleiman concluded his report with a link to an online video demonstration of Odyssey SessionWorks Judge Edition and a link to their SessionWorks Judge Edition website for additional information.

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