Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This and That in Court Technology – March, 2016

Mecklenburg County Courtroom Tech

Court technology related news from North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Arizona and the UK in this month's edition of This and That.


Mecklenburg County North Carolina Courtroom Technology Training

Earlier this week I stumbled across their courtroom technology training web page with videos and PDF transcripts to train technology users before they come to court.  They web page also provided downloadable software for their “Team Board” display.

Excellent work!

Check it out at:

Baton Rouge City Court Approved for $5 New Case Management Fee

In an article posted February 11, 2016 by the Greater Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Business Report we learned that the Metro Council “authorizing judges to levy a $5 fee to fund the new case management system”.

“The new case management system could cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million, depending on the features the court seeks. (City Court Administrator and Clerk of Court Lynn) Maloy says the court has about $610,000 already in the bank from carryover surplus money, general fund supplements and a closed expense fund account.

“This gives us a good starting point in combination with the fund to purchase the system,” Maloy says.

The final price will depend on which vendors respond to the RFP and the components those vendors feel will best fit the court’s needs.

Maloy says she seeks a system that speeds up the daily courtroom operations and provides better access to public records to the public and law enforcement.

Arizona Court Victim of Ransomware Attack

As we warned, Ransomware has appeared in a court here in the USA.  An SC Magazine article posted on February 25, 2016 described an attack on The Arizona Superior Court in Pima County.

Fortunately they were ready.

“The IT team shut down the system to limit damage and clean out the malware and it was up and running again later that day. No court information was compromised. No details on the ransom were available and an inquiry to the court for further information had not been answered.”

Additional details are available here.

UK Tribunals President Promotes “One-Stop Shop” for Justice

UK Law Society Gazette article from March 8, 2016: “In a speech on modernisation of access to justice in times of austerity, Sir Ernest Ryder said there needed to be a change in how litigation is viewed, from an adversarial dispute to a problem to be solved.

He said: ‘Digitisation presents an opportunity to break with processes that are no longer optimal or relevant and at the same time build on the best that we have to eliminate structural design flaws and perhaps even the less attractive aspects of a litigation culture.’

Ryder added: ‘If we simply digitised our existing courts and tribunals, and their processes, all we would do is digitally replicate our existing system. Such an approach would fossilise our Victorian legacy.’

He said digitisation of the courts process also gives the opportunity to create a seamless system of justice that is better at solving problems.

He said: ‘If a litigant, party, or user has a problem, they should be able to come to the court system to have it resolved. They should not have to compartmentalise their own problem and run to different parts of the system with each bit.’

Ryder described the current system, where courts and tribunals have overlapping jurisdictions over a number of areas, as ‘patently inefficient’ and a ‘less than ideal way of delivering justice’.

He said that digitisation and development of online courts should create a single point of entry to the justice system, which could facilitate the direction of claims to the right part of the system, thus avoiding duplication.”

Well said Sir Ernest.  We completely agree. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Tyler Technologies Helps Self-Represented Litigants with Enhanced eFileTexas System

In a press release issued on February 23, 2016 posted on BusinessWire we learned:

eFileTexas “has been enhanced with a free tool that helps self-represented litigants more easily access and work within the justice system. eFileTexas, developed and managed by Tyler, is the largest mandatory electronic court filing system in the U.S.

The new tool—called eFileTexas SelfHelp™ — is free to the courts and Texas residents. The pilot project was kicked off in March 2015, and was created because the state recognized the challenges associated with the increasing number of residents representing themselves in court. eFileTexas

SelfHelp is powered by Tyler’s Odyssey Guide & File™ solution. It leverages the eFileTexas system and allows courts and legal aid organizations to develop Web-based interviews and provide relevant, informative content to help self-represented litigants with court filings. This results in a reduction of erroneous filings as well as staff time answering pro se questions.

eFileTexas SelfHelp was developed with support from Collin County, Williamson County, Travis County, Fort Bend County, Lone Star Legal Aid and the Texas Legal Services Center. Eleven counties in Texas are now live on eFileTexas SelfHelp.

The full press release with additional details is available here.

Marion County (Indianapolis) Courts Launch Web-Based Transcript System

A press release posted on March 4, 2016 announced that the Circuit and Superior Courts of Marion County, Indiana has partnered with TheRecordXchange “for all transcript orders in the Marion Circuit and Superior Courts. The service allows private attorneys and government entities, including the Prosecutor and Public Defender, to manage the transcript ordering process through a secure, cloud-based Web portal.”

““TheRecordXchange has provided us the information we need, as Court Administration, to manage a complex process and support our official court reporters,” said Emily VanOsdol, Court Administrator for the Marion Superior Courts. “Our official court reporters are faced with upcoming rule changes that will reduce the time allowed to produce appellate transcripts,” she continued.
“TheRecordXchange can provide them the tools they need to meet the new requirements.”

Click here for the full press release.

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