Thursday, June 21, 2018

This and That in Court Technology – June 2018

News about a national list of self-help court and public websites, lots of news about the upcoming E-Courts Conference, and tips for dealing with your email inbox.


Inventory of Court & Public Self-Help Websites

We are very pleased to share the news that the Legal Design Lab is in the process of creating an inventory of links for “every state court self-help website and each states’ free legal help portal website. We are scraping these websites for legal guides and tools, and then we will be labeling them regarding what legal issues they could help with.”

The current inventory page is located at

I’m sure that if you know of an addition to the list that they would love to hear from you.


E-Courts Registration Discount – Act Before June 30 to Save $150

The E-Courts website is the place to register for the conference for only $550 (Bonus Play rate) until June 30, 2018.  The conference will be held from December 10-12, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Cosmopolitan hotel.  The registration rate increases to $700 if you register from July 1 to November 30.  So take advantage of the savings.

E-Courts Session Highlights

In other E-Courts news a “Session Spotlight: “Right-Sizing” Penalties with Technology” was announced.  The session note says:

Poverty is not a crime, yet people in poverty can trigger escalating fines and fees through inability to pay—a self-perpetuating cycle. This cycle of escalating courts costs, fines, and fees effectively criminalize poverty.

This education session focuses on two court projects aim to avert this escalation by including the assessment of ability-to-pay in the sentencing and penalties phase of a court case.
The Michigan 31st District Court uses an online “ability to pay assessment” developed at the University of Michigan.

In Kentucky, the Administrative Office of the Courts added payment plans and assessments to its online ticket resolution earlier this year.

This eCourts session is an opportunity to learn from the experiences of these courts on how you might apply this approach to your community.

Speakers for this session are:

  • Laurie Dudgeon AOC Director, Kentucky
  • Judge Alexis Grace Krot, Michigan – 31st District Court
  • Professor JJ Prescott, University of Michigan/Law
  • Beth Lucas, Implementation & Court Services Director, AOC Kentucky

A second Session Spotlight: Blockchain in the Courts was also announced.  That note says:

A quick Google search for “blockchain” returns about 85,600,000 results in less than half a second—a lot of people are certainly talking about this technology. Blockchain is such a compelling technology, the SEC issued a warning to public companies about adding “blockchain” to their name to dupe potential investors.

Which begs the question: Is blockchain our future?

We’re going to tackle four topics around blockchain in this lightning-round session led by Paul Embley, CIO, National Center for State Courts, and Anne Thompson, Co-Chair, IJIS Institute Court Advisory Committee:

  • We’ll answer the inevitable question, “Is blockchain the same as Bitcoin?” (Spoiler alert: Nope!) 
  • We'll explore how blockchain might be used in the courts and public sector, focusing on criminal history records, disposition reporting, and expungement of records—including those out in the public space.  
  • We’ll also touch on cases that may come before your judges.

Inbox Zero

Last, an article from – “11 ways to hit inbox zero”  provided some good tips on ways “to manage email by keeping the primary inbox empty”.  The article notes that the benefit of “aiming for inbox zero makes life far less stressful and once it's achieved it's easy to maintain”.

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