Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This and That in Court Technology – December, 2016

In this month's edition, we have e-Courts information; some news items and announcements from Microsoft; Alameda County, California CMS problems; a new way to annotate legal briefs; and some holiday gift guides for last minute shopping.


eCourts Conference Smart Phone App

The NCSC announce the Conferences App that will support the upcoming E-Courts conference.  It provides the agenda, speaker, photos, as well as exhibitor information.  You can check it out here on iTunes or here on Google Play.  Or you can search for “NCSC Conferences” or either app store.

I did have to reset the password that was associated with the account to make it work.  There is a link to do that from the app.  But it takes a while (I’d say around 15 minutes) to send you the reset message.  So be patient.

Microsoft News

Three interesting things came from Microsoft in recent weeks.  The first was the Microsoft Local Gov Tech Summit virtual event that was held on November 16, 2016.  They recorded the summit and so it is available for viewing online.  The keynote was presented by Dustin Haisler who is the Chief Innovation Officer for e.Republic.  He presented on “how you can embrace your challenges to ignite innovation.

Another interesting announcement was the new BizTalk Server 2016 that allows and controls connections between on-premises and cloud-based applications.  They call it “Hybrid Cloud”.
I have always liked BizTalk as a technology that provides control points for criminal justice information sharing projects.  Law enforcement, in particular, seeks to control what is connected to their systems and, have the ability to monitor and audit the data that is being sent and received.

BizTalk also allows for data translations to be done in a centralized and controlled manner.  This potentially saves money over time as the attached systems change.  And when they change there is only one place that needs updates (or sets the standards) to continue sharing data.

Third. Microsoft posted a helpful explanatory article on how their “deep learning” software system works.  I think that we need to consider this new capability as part of our future planning purposes.

Tyler Odyssey/Alameda County, California Implementation Issues Discussed

In an article, “Lawyers: New court software is so awful it’s getting people wrongly arrested” published on the Ars Technica website discusses problems with the Alameda County, California implementation.

In discussions here at the NCSC, some with direct experience in Alameda County noted that there had been many issues with the data quality in the older system that Odyssey is replacing.

We also discussed the problems with data conversion including mismatched data fields, significantly different database table structures, and inadequate data validation in the older systems just to name a few. Data conversion is highly challenging as the article points out.  It should be done very cautiously if at all (virtual machines in software makes this a serious option).

And last, a challenging issue as our CTB readers know relates to setting up new data sharing messaging between criminal justice agencies.  New system transitions simply take time and we have confidence that the problems will be overcome.

An Annotated Web Legal Brief

In our continuing campaign for smarter court documents, thanks to Margaret Hagan and Open Law Lab, we learned about the creation of an online annotated legal brief.  It is illustrative of extended capabilities that electronic documents can provide.  The brief to the Supreme Court of the United States used the “Genius Web Annotator” that contains “yellow highlight” annotations.  The "plugin" makes it easy to add annotations and in turn, very easy to click on the highlighted sections to view the annotations/explanations to that section.

We have often discussed “pre-markup” for documents submitted to the court.  This is a great example of what is possible.  And as we have written before, the LegalXML ECF standard allows for "links" to be E-filed.  So such a web page could be filed for interactive use by the court and of course "memorialized" as well in several different formats.

Holiday Gift Guides

As we are entering a gift-giving season here in the USA, I thought I would share a list of “tech” gift guides for your last minute consideration.  So here goes:

Wired Magazine -
The Verge -
C-net - -
PC Magazine -

Enjoy and I hope to see you at eCourts 2016.

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