Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This and That in Court Technology - April 2013

The court tech world has been busy this month, perhaps due to the late arrival of spring?


CITOC Webinar Announced

The Court Information Technology Officer Consortium (CITOC) Education Sub-Committee is pleased to host its fifth webinar for CITOC members.

The webinar will be Friday, April 26th, at 1:00pm EST/10:00am PST. The topic will be spotlighting the CITOC Innovation Award winner – Administrative Office of PA Courts – and their Implementation of Microsoft CRM, SharePoint, and MS SQL Server Reporting Services.
Barbara Holmes, Enterprise Design Architect and Analysts Steven Crouse and Cheryl Crider will present.
CITOC Innovation Award Winner Showcase 
In December 2012 the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) received the first CITOC Innovation Award. Their submittal - Implementation of Microsoft CRM, SharePoint, and MS SQL Server Reporting Services – highlighted the PA Courts use of Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software (Dynamics) as a platform for rapid development of internal projects. While CRM is typically focused on sales organizations and marketing campaigns, AOPC took advantage of Dynamic’s role-based paradigm to build “person” based applications.
AOPC will share a specific application built for their Interpreter Staff in three short months. They will also provide an overview of a solution built for litigation staff that was deployed in 3 weeks. In addition to speed, they will discuss other benefits of this platform and the types of skills required to build and support applications.

Europe e-Justice Portal

A terrific short video has been created and posted on YouTube to promote use and understanding of Europe's e-Justice Portal.  This service to judges, attorneys and the self-represented can provide some useful ideas for courts here in the USA.

Oregon Considers Electronic Jury Summons

Thanks to Bill Raftery at our NCSC sister Gavel to Gavel blog. Oregon courts have been moving to an electronic environment under Oregon’s eCourt initiative,  Oregon Legislature HB 2547 would allow the Chief Justice to make rules authorizing electronic summons for jurors. This would allow potential jury members to receive and respond to a summons by email and is intended to increase court efficiency and save money.

Bill Text: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Measures/Overview/HB2547

State Court Administrator’s testimony: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/3893
Highlights of the proposed legislation include:
• §1-2 add a new provision to ORS chapter 10 on juries that allows the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to make rules governing electronic communications between trial courts and potential jurors. This would include, for example, the opportunity for jurors to submit requests for excuse or deferral electronically through voluntary online forms.
• §3 amends ORS 1.002 to add the same authority to the Chief Justice’s general rule-making authority.
• §4 amends ORS 10.215 to allow us to manage jury lists more efficiently in the electronic environment. The statute already requires the Office of the State Court Administrator to prepare the master list for each circuit court. The bill shifts the duty to certify master lists from each of the 27 individual trial court administrators to the State Court Administrator so that the work can be streamlined and done centrally. The State Court Administrator would then provide a certified copy of the master list to each circuit court. 

Judge David Harvey on News Media and New Media and the Courts

Our prolific friend, Judge David Harvey has written an in-depth blog post titled - The News Media meets New Media - a midpoint in technology driven rule making.

The post discusses the legal definitions of the media and how that has changed and the impacts of the changes.

NCSC Launches Court Statistics Website

The NCSC has launched the newly redesigned Court Statistic Project (CSP) website.  The newly redesigned CSP web site is now live at the same friendly URL: http://www.courtstatistics.org/
Of note for CTB readers is the information contained in the interactive State Court Organization section with survey results regarding the use of E-filing in state courts.

State of New Mexico Court CIO Discusses Improving Criminal History Records

In the National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS)  InfoSys newsletter - Winter 2013 edition (PDF download), New Mexico court CIO Steve Prisoc published an article titled: Improving Criminal Histories Using Non-Biometric Data - A Modest Proposal.  The following are some excerpts from the article:

"This article explores the idea of including criminal history records that were not fingerprint verified into state and federal criminal history repositories. Of course, fingerprint-verified criminal arrests and dispositions are the gold standard for criminal history information, but in states like New Mexico, many arrest and court records are created without associated biometric identifiers.  For the most part, these non-biometric records, which include critical arrests and court dispositions, never
make it to key justice decision makers and therefore might as well not exist... 
New Mexico is one of the less-than-perfect states.  Over the past two years, the Administrative Office of the Courts has sent three sets of test disposition data to the agency responsible for maintaining the New Mexico criminal history repository and very few arrest/tracking numbers could be matched to criminal court final dispositions. Even with repeated attempts,  and after adjusting for varying local practices, less than one percent of court dispositions could be matched to underlying arrests.  The end result is that most court dispositions in New Mexico cannot be posted to the state criminal history repository using fingerprint-based identifiers. This means that most New Mexico criminal case dispositions never make it to state or federal criminal history repositories...   
A quick way to improve criminal history availability in states with low disposition reporting rates is to supplement criminal history systems with name checks to allow justice decision makers access records that cannot be posted using fingerprint-based identifiers, which in New Mexico includes most criminal records...  
This would create a two-tier system, where the first tier would contain records matched using fingerprints, and the second tier would include records that lack biometric identifiers.  Of course, justice decision makers should be thoroughly trained to regard non-biometric records as less dependable than records that have been linked to fingerprints."
We recommend downloading and reading the full article linked above.

Texas Appeals Court Finds that E-mail Message Thread Constitutes a Valid Contract

The world moves along.  But where is the "wet signature"?  Nowhere to be found.

Los Angeles Public Library Online Photo Archives

Last, as someone who frequently makes presentations, a terrific resource for old photographs and drawings that are in the public domain is the Los Angeles California Public Library's Visual Collections website.  There are truly wonderful photos of courtroom scenes from the past and all other manner of subject matter (see example below).  The archives can be found at: http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/visual-collections

Los Angeles Courtroom circa 1930

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