Friday, March 23, 2018

More This and That in Court Tech – March 2018

This edition contains a Judge’s response on court automation project criticism, Google Plus Addresses, a lawsuit between judges and clerk regarding their electronic document system implementation, editing PDF documents, the Indiana court’s E-filing implementation web page, and the new NCSC home page is announced.


Judge Reiling Responds to Criticism of Court Digitalization

Our good friend, Judge Dory Reiling in The Netherlands posted a response to a colleague who wrote an article about the “rising cost and longer duration of the digitalization of the courts.”
Her response is comprehensive and can be read here ( ).  But I want to share one salient point that all court technologists face:
“Suppose: we know we have to keep things simple, but from the Accounting Chamber’s reports it is clear that complications will arise anyway. What do we do? Forget about digitalization? I cannot speak for the legislator or the Council for the Judiciary, but I can speak for myself, as the product owner of the civil procedure. I felt we should go ahead, and seize this opportunity that might not arise again for the next ten years. With every decision, we tried to apply the simplicity rule: can we make it simpler, is it necessary at all? It turned out we could not always do that. Legislation, the environment of bailiffs and lawyers, requirements and wishes from the users in the courts, technology itself, security needs, and a host of other factors kept us from applying the simplicity rule consistently. But some procedures have been digitalized, and they work. Civil procedural legislation changed so much that the courts need to put a lot of effort into implementation, and that is another reason why the new system has not been rolled out to all courts yet.”
Well done Judge Reiling.

Google Plus Addresses

As many of us who work on court information systems know, physical addresses can be a challenge for rural areas and in many international countries.  Google has created a system called “Plus Codes”.  Their web page on it,, says:
“A plus code is like a street address for people or places that don't have one.
Plus codes give addresses to everyone, everywhere, allowing them to receive deliveries, access emergency services, register to vote – and more. 
Plus codes are short, simple, and easy to use: X4HP+M5, Cairo, Egypt, for example. These codes can be used on Google Maps to get directions to a home or business.”
And we might add, for service of process or location of the case party by law enforcement or probation.  It is also free, which is always a plus for new court technology.  Recommended.

Judges Bring Lawsuit Against Clerk about Electronic Documents

Our eagle-eyed friends here at the NCSC spied an article from the Tri-City Herald newspaper ( ) in Washington state titled “Superior Court judges sue Franklin County clerk over going paperless” (  ).  The article says:
““The motion is based on a four-page declaration by Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner. He said he was authorized by his colleagues in 2017 to work with Killian “to develop those (workflow) processes and integrate them with the pending paperless system.” 
Killian said the civil action arises out of a difference of opinion over a clerk’s office process.”
Later in the article notes:
“Franklin County was an “early adopter” of the Odyssey management system, which is being rolled out statewide except for King and Pierce counties. 
The upgraded system, backed by the state Administrative Office of the Courts, integrates three court functions: indexing, calendaring and document filing. 
It is the official court record, Killian said. 
Benton County expects to go live with the system in June. 
With Odyssey, the judges have a touchscreen monitor on the bench and in chambers to view scanned case documents and enter future court dates and actions taken.”

Editing PDF’s

This article from Slate points out that some of the evidence in the Paul Manafort investigation is the result of their lack of knowledge about PDF editing tools.  Click here to read the full article

Indiana E-Filing Implementation

For those of us who are interested in seeing how court E-Filing is proceeding, Indiana is providing a great help by consolidating this information in one web page.  It is located here.

Greatly appreciated.

New NCSC website home page ( )

Last, this month the NCSC launched a redesigned home page. Take a look at it on a tablet and on your phone, not just on your desktop computer. You’ll notice it’s fully responsive, which means the content adjusts itself for the best display on any screen size. Some of the page’s new features include:
  • Six “I’m looking for” buttons
  • NCSC by the Numbers data visualization provides insight into what we do, where we do it, and who we do it for
  • Our 10 Questions feature, where you can get to know our employees
  • The Connected Community feed showcases the latest discussions from members of the court community
  • Data cards highlight statistics from various NCSC projects and publications


  1. Please update your synopsis mentioning "Google Plus Addresses", as it seems to reference addresses on "Google +", the social media platform, rather than Google's project, Plus Codes.

  2. I approved your comment so that I could correct your assertion that the link is incorrect. It is not. The link in the Google Plus Codes is correct. Perhaps you just looked for Google Plus and left off the "Codes" part?