Friday, August 7, 2015

This and That in Court Technology – August, 2015

Lots of news for a hot and sticky summer week from Pennsylvania, Open Law Labs, Adobe, Washington DC, Arizona, Nebraska, and fun tech toy land.


Pennsylvania Releases App for Court Dockets

Via press release, August 5, 2015: HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania courts today launched the Android version of PAeDocket – a free app that provides a quick and simple search of court cases or dockets.

Finding public court information is easier than ever with PAeDocket – including results about cases, such as charges, court dates, upcoming hearings and status of cases. PAeDocket offers a visually engaging and easy-to-use mobile experience, now for both Android and iOS platforms.

Utilizing mobile apps provides a valuable service for the public, including lawyers, law enforcement, consumers, victims and victims’ families.

In fact, since launching the iPhone and iPad version of PAeDocket in May 2015, more than 3,388 users have downloaded the app, with many people asking for the Android version. Existing PAeDocket users have given the app a 5-star rating, commenting that “every PA attorney should have it,” it’s “very useful” and “finds a lot of cases.”

PAeDocket makes looking for Pennsylvania case information fast and easy. Application users can search:

case number
participant name
organization name
offense tracking number
police incident or complaint number
state ID number

To download the application, visit the Google Play or iTunes store and search for “PAeDocket.”

The judiciary reminds drivers not to access PAeDocket while driving.

Adobe Releases Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe has released a new version of their venerable PDF application called Acrobat Pro DC (Document Cloud... more below).  They are touting the ability to scan, edit and reflow text, add new lines and generally be able to work with PDF documents like one does with a word processor.  They are providing the ability to subscribe to the application for $12.99 per month (and up).

According to this PC World review: “Adobe is introducing a new cloud, called the Document Cloud (DC for short), a document-management and document-signing service for which Acrobat is the interface, on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.”  And part of their cloud that is of interest to us in the courts is the ability to apply electronic signatures to the document.

For more see:

Margaret’s Excellent Idea

Our friend Margaret Hagan at Open Law Lab writes:

“Recently I was running a design workshop with several court administrators, including some who worked in it IT and others who oversaw more of the rule-making and administration of state courts. We ran through several exercises that scoped out ways to make their professional lives & work better — both for the litigants who use the court, and the professionals who work in them.

One insight that emerged was, that I thought quite profound — something I had never thought through before — is the importance of having a well-structured online version of the court’s knowledge and processes. With a more structured online system — in its public facing version, and in its internal version — there will be better court practice.”

I recommend reading her entire post (with always great graphics) at:

DC Circuit Latest Court to Combat Link Rot

We learned that following the US Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal DC Circuit has taken steps for their library to preserve Internet-posted material that is linked to by their decisions.

Their press release (PDF) states:

“This Circuit’s opinions frequently contain citations to web pages. Unfortunately, after a period of time, some of those web pages cease to exist or become altered -- making a citation inaccessible or indiscernible.

“The Circuit’s chief carpenter, Circuit Librarian Pat Michalowskij, has designed a solution to fix this ‘rot.’ Beginning in September, the Library and Clerk’s Office will capture any web page cited in a Circuit opinion, convert it into a PDF document, and post the archived document in the electronic docket for the case. The electronic docket will, as always, be available to the public through the Court’s PACER system."

“So, the next time link rot makes it hard for a member of the public -- or for a judge – to determine what a judge was relying on for a certain point, the answer will be just a few clicks away.”

This is something that all court systems should consider as the Internet is an ephemeral place.

Arizona Adds Facial Recognition to Driver’s License Application Process

Via press release, July 16, 2015:

“PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is taking an active role in curbing identity theft and fraud by implementing facial recognition technology in the application process for state-issued credentials.

An applicant for a new or duplicate driver license or state ID card at an ADOT Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third Party office will have their photo taken at the beginning of the process. Facial recognition during the “Photo First” review process occurs seamlessly and without delay as the customer continues through the application process.

In 2012, ADOT Motor Vehicle Division implemented a Photo First approach to aid in the detection of and prevention of fraud, forgery and identity theft. In 2014, ADOT Motor Vehicle Division implemented Central Credential Issuance, eliminating credentials being issued at the MVD or Authorized Third Party offices. Both processes have contributed to a more comprehensive review of applications along with providing more time to identify possible fraudulent submissions.

One of the best screening formats in the detection of identity theft, attempted fraud or forgery in the application process has always been the ADOT Motor Vehicle Division customer service representatives who initially review all documents submitted in the application packet. During this initial screening process of the application packet by ADOT employees, possible file errors or fraudulent submissions are detected.

“Facial recognition technology supports the commitment by ADOT to protect the privacy of its customers, and to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the credential issuance process,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “This technology enables us to fight against fraud and identity theft.”

The technology provides an effective screening method to identify errors in customer records in the state driver license database and to prevent fraudulent attempts to obtain an Arizona driver license or identification card. It also allows ADOT to develop the new federally compliant Voluntary Travel ID according to the requirements outlined in the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.”

Obviously this is something to watch and plan for in the future in your system.

Judge Quits Blogging

One of the most widely read blogs on the Internet, “Hercules and the Umpire” is ending,  Writing on July 9, 2015, US Federal District Trial Judge Richard George Kopf announced that he was quitting:

“I am pulling the plug because I learned a couple of hours ago about a discussion held at a retreat for our employees. The retreat had to do with honesty in the workplace, especially when dealing with uncomfortable subjects. Chief Judge Smith Camp attended the meeting and was asked a question.

The question was this: Did the Chief Judge feel that Hercules and the umpire had become an embarrassment to our Court. She responded that she thought 95 percent of the posts were insightful, entertaining, well-written, and enlightening. Then she asked for a show of hands, inquiring how many of the employees felt the blog had become an embarrassment to our Court. The great majority raised their hands. The Chief then told them that she appreciated their candor, and that she would share with me their sentiments.”

It is very worthwhile to read his entire post at:

Cool Smart Phone Stand

Last, for fun we often read the blog.  One post showed the very cool (which we need in August) AboveTEK smart phone stand.  Check it out here or here.

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