Friday, October 11, 2019

Tech Interns for Courts: Some Ideas




Over the years I have had some excellent interns that worked for me in Arizona, on international projects, and here at the NCSC.   It seems that, not surprisingly, all of them went on to good careers.  In this week's post, I will share some project ideas for your potential interns and second, some tips to make their experience a rewarding one.




Friday, October 4, 2019

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

This and That in Court Tech – September 2019




In this month’s compendium, we have a lot of news and comments about electronic documents.  The posts discuss online “phishing” scammers using fake legal documents, an audit report on the UK Court Modernization Program, a PDF standard implementation announcement by Microsoft, another court filer document redaction problem, the new public Texas court document portal, the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act and a personal note on Judge Dorothy Nelson.



Friday, September 20, 2019

Judge Rose Zamora Awarded McMillan Scholarship at CTC-2019


Jim McMillan and Judge Rose Zamora at CTC-2019


We are pleased to share that Judge Rose Zamora from the New Braunfels Texas Municipal Court was awarded the McMillan Scholarship at the CTC 2019 Conference for her innovations.  Much more below:





Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Some CTC 2019 Highlights




If you weren’t one of the 1,400 or so people who attended CTC 2019 on Sept. 10-12 in New Orleans, you missed a lot of great information, but here’s a summary of a handful of some well-attended sessions. 

We will have additional articles on the conference in the upcoming weeks.



Thursday, September 12, 2019

OASIS Litigant Portal Draft Standard Review


OASIS and the OASIS Litigant Portal (LP) TC are pleased to announce that Litigant Portal Exchange Version 1.0 is now available for public review and comment.

The Litigant Portal Exchange 1.0 (LPX 1.0) standard consists of a set of non-proprietary message specifications and data models, along with clarifying explanations, to promote interoperability between litigant portal systems, courts, legal assistance providers and related systems. Portal modules are designed to provide assistance to self-represented litigants.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Criminal Justice System Information – A NoSQL Solution


Cards used in Bletchley Park during WWII

By James E. McMillan, Principal Court Management Consultant, National Center for State Courts

Summary: I think that I have found a solution for one of the most difficult problems in justice systems: the criminal case information data model and coinciding information accuracy.  I understand that this is a bold statement and therefore the following article explains it in some detail.

The problem with tracking criminal case information from inception (incident or indictment), through the process and subsequent consequences and compliance have always been complexity.  Criminal and juvenile case data includes charges, modifications, findings, orders, fines and restitution payment, and behavioral/remediation compliance that change and reconfigure in non-specific ways.  The graphic from a SEARCH Group Report below shows some of the data and workflows involved.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

What to know before you go to CTC 2019




This week's CTB post shares all the information you need for the Court Technology Conference (CTC) 2019 next week in New Orleans, Louisiana from September 10-12, 2019.

It is going to be a terrific conference!  See you there.



Thursday, August 29, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

A Couple of Good Mobile Court Apps






Our friends in the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department have developed a couple of simple and easy to use court apps.  They are available in English and Arabic on the Apple App Store so you can download them to see how they work?




Monday, August 19, 2019

ODR 2019 Conference Agenda Released




The Online Dispute Resolution Forum  (https://www.ncsc.org/odr2019 ) agenda has been released and is shown below.  The conference will be held from October 28-30 with a special pre-conference event on October 28 in the home of the NCSC, Williamsburg Virginia.

The agenda includes reports and lessons from the real-world application of ODR in the courts both in the USA and internationally.  The agenda looks great!

Click here for registration.


Friday, August 16, 2019

2019 State Court E-Filing Program Status List





We compiled the following list of court E-filing program links in August 2019.  This is an update to the list we created in 2016.  We found information for every state and territory except Oklahoma and American Samoa.  Congratulations to all the courts for their
hard work.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Friday, July 26, 2019

Punchline – Google Edition – And an Idea



This is a short note today due to travel regarding a CBS News report titled “CBS News investigation finds fraudulent court orders used to change Google search results” from July 25, 2019.  The report explained that:
“A Google search can reveal negative information about anyone or any company. Since it's difficult to change those results, many small businesses are paying thousands to so-called reputation management companies to make negative web pages disappear.”
They further explained:
“One of the only ways to get Google to permanently remove a link from its search results is with a court order from a judge. CBS News sorted through thousands of these court orders and spotted small businesses from all across America trying to clean up their reputations. But we also spotted a problem: Dozens of the court documents were fakes.”
If you get a chance to watch the video it shows that the fraudsters simply cut and pasted images of the court stamps and judges signatures.  Thus here is yet another example of how the authentication method of signatures and blue rubber stamps is outdated. 

We have posted many articles on this type of problem before. But, I want to offer another idea?  Why not set up a new “verified electronic copy” service with fees that Google and others could pay to the court to receive a verified copy … with ideally an electronic signature.  The fee would very likely be passed along by Google to the persons/companies who legitimately should have their web page/link removed.  And of course, the fee rule could allow for the court to issue a waver.

So accurate information, problems for the fraudsters, and fee to help courts pay for the service.  What’s not to like?


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

This and That in Court Tech - July 2019

http://bit.ly/2O0gxGA


This month’s summer basket of Court Technology news includes the CTC 2019 agenda announcement, Arizona’s new eAccess Online Portal, a note on savings created by the use of the Florida E-Filing Portal, an award for the Pennsylvania Court Guardianship technology program, a report for the England and Wales courts on legal technology, and a tutorial on how to use Microsoft Office 365’s e-discovery tools.



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Virginia Public Access to Court Records Grows


Virginia State Capitol buildings

Thanks to some articles on Medium.com we learned that the Virginia courts have opened court records to online access and bulk download last week.  This follows years of litigation from news media organizations that resulted in a Virginia Supreme Court ruling in 2017 denying access.  However, in the interim political pressure resulted in first the Virginia Supreme Court announced on January 23, 2018, that they would “promulgate a court rule concerning public access to judiciary records on or before December 1, 2018, and later legislation requiring that “bulk data” be made available.



Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Free Security Awareness Kit



With the news of the Georgia Administrative Office of the Court's ransomware attack, I thought that it would be best to pass along Brian Krebs message about the free security awareness campaign for your staff.  You can access the Information Security Institute (InfoSec) “Marine Lowlifes Campaign Kit” (get it… dangerous phish?) here. 

There is also an introduction video to view to see what they are providing.  Be safe.






Thursday, June 27, 2019

US Federal Judiciary Creates Public User Group for PACER



Via press release on June 26, 2019: The Federal Judiciary has created and is seeking members for a public user group to provide advice and feedback on ways to improve its electronic public access services. The Electronic Public Access (EPA) Public User Group membership will be selected from interested applicants who represent the legal sector, media, academia, government agencies, the public, and other entities that use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to access federal court records. The group will allow for the exchange of information about issues experienced by users, and it will recommend ideas for expanding and improving services.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

“AI” in Justice Systems



We heard about a new program that the San Francisco, California District Attorney is developing a program to attempt to reduce racial bias. That and another article on “AI Hype” and other AI development projects are in this week’s post.



Thursday, June 13, 2019

This and That in Court Tech and CTC Announcement – June 2019



We are pleased to share that renowned author Richard Susskind will be the keynote speaker at the CTC 2019 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 10, 2019.  That and news about the New Mexico OneSource system, an upcoming podcast by my colleagues on blockchain, a “Jury Bot” system, a call for judicial technical competence, and my experience with the latest Windows 10 feature update, are in this month’s compilation of tech news.



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

E-Filing Gets Serious in New Jersey


Photo: Andreas Praefcke [CC BY 3.0 ]


We learned from a Law.com article that the New Jersey Appellate Court had affirmed an order enforcing an arbitration award after the plaintiff’s lawyer “failed to use New Jersey’s eCourts system to electronically file its demand for a trial de novo and to pay the filing fee”.  Discussion follows below.




Thursday, May 23, 2019

Courthouse Wi-Fi Access and New Tech Standards



An article last month in Government Technology magazine’s website titled “Court Calls for Wi-Fi to Comply with N.Y. Digital Evidence Rule” got me thinking that the world is probably changing in terms of courthouse Internet access.  The following post will list/discuss some of the court's policies and rules along with some new Wi-Fi standards that are being implemented.


Monday, May 13, 2019

LegalXML Electronic Court Filing 5.0 Standard Approved


OASIS is pleased to announce that Electronic Court Filing Version 5.0 (ECF) from the OASIS LegalXML Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee [1] has been approved as an OASIS Committee Specification.  (ed note: the committee has been working on this for years BTW.)

ECF defines a technical architecture and a set of components, operations and message structures for an electronic court filing system, and sets forth rules governing its implementation. Version 5.0 provides a number of enhancements including:


Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Barrel Full of Court Tech News



It is spring flower season and so we share an analogous bounty of court tech in the following post.  Included are news about CTC registration, more reminder systems benefits, New Mexico's new open legal online access system, China court blockchain, and AI projects, Amal and George Clooney's TrialWatch app, Kansas Supreme Court's E-Filing rules review, and paper savings in the England and Wales courts.



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bob Roper


We have some sad news to share in this post.  Our good friend and former NCSC colleague, Bob Roper has passed.  The following notes are from friends who wish to share their stories about this true court technology pioneer.

From O. John Kuenhold:

Bob served as CIO of the Colorado Courts from 1992 until he resigned in September 2011. Bob’s leadership and vision initiated the long transition of the Branch into the world of electronic files, filing and the continuing development of a next-gen case management system. Bob was a founding member of CITOC and served for a decade on the COSCA-NACM Joint Technology Committee of the National Center for State Courts where he championed the role of technology in improving the quality of service to the public by the courts. Bob was a frequent presenter and panelist at the NCSC Court Technology Conferences E-Courts Conferences for 20 years.


Monday, April 29, 2019

McMillan Court Technology Conference Scholarship Available

Jose Lezcano, 2017 winner and Jim McMillan

The National Center for State Courts is pleased to announce a call for applications for the James E. McMillan Award (McMillan Award) for Innovation in Court Technology. The winner, selected by a committee of court technology experts, will receive a full scholarship to attend CTC 2019 in New Orleans, LA, September 10-12, 2019. This full scholarship includes a waiver of conference registration, four nights accommodation at a conference hotel, and round-trip travel expenses. The approximate value of this scholarship is $2,000.

The web page with full details is available at: https://courttechnologyconference.org/ctc-2019-scholarship-award-announcement/

The due date for submission is Monday, June 17, 2019.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Please Fix Your MS Word Court Forms




Warning, old guy (get off my lawn) rant follows...  Many of the Microsoft Word forms courts provide on their websites ARE NOT real forms.  The thing that makes me especially crazy is when one enters data on the line provided … the line extends/wraps.  Then I have to waste time to shorten the line and re-underline what I typed.  That said, we share what we think that courts should be doing below.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Farewell to Richard Zorza and More Court Tech News




We have sad news regarding the passing of access to justice pioneer, Richard Zorza as well as news from the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orange County/Orlando Florida, more online services announce by the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal, some notes on courtroom technology and the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S.




Friday, April 12, 2019

25 Facts About AI & Law


Earlier this week I read the article “25 facts about AI & Law you always wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) by Micha Grupp at Medium.com.   I think it is an important article; and I want to post a summary and recommend that, if you are interested, read the entire article as it applied to the courts as well.

Mr. Grupp starts the article by stating:

“In law, AI is still all the talk. Most of it is slightly or utterly incorrect. Discoveries in recent years have little impact on the automation of legal work and the legal industry. Legal reasoning is different from other fields— technology should reflect this.”

I agree and so here is the very brief summary of the sections of his article.


Friday, April 5, 2019

CCMS Audit Mode...



Our good friend and former NCSC colleague, Larry Webster says that caseflow management is akin to a leaf in a stream.  Sometimes the leaf is caught by the current and moves quickly.  Other times the leaf is caught by a tree-branch or gets stuck against the bank. 

Court case management systems (CCMS) exist to control and oversee the processing and flow of the matters brought before the court.  To achieve this goal, and to guide policy, we use the CCMS to create court statistical reports.  But we need to ask more from these statistical reports.  We explain below:




Friday, March 29, 2019

What Went Wrong? - A New Court Metric?


Many years and many, many pounds ago I was a competitive distance runner.  I always thought this was good training for work with courts because one can practice for years and only maybe achieve a good result.  I still generally follow training ideas and athletics (running) as a sport.  One of those coach/writers is the excellently named Greg McMillan who writes a blog at https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/

Last week he posted an article on how an athlete should analyze a poor performance by creating a “what went wrong log” which has a simple spreadsheet structure.  Taking this general concept, I very much like the idea of studying “what went wrong” for the courts.  Let me explain.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Calling Alexa at Glendale Arizona City Court

Amazon Echo Dot



Long-time readers of this blog may remember that one of my general goals as a court technologist has been to enable courts to “answer the phone”.  David Garretson wrote to share an online streaming video demonstrating the Alexa voice app they built for the Glendale Arizona Municipal Court.



Friday, March 15, 2019

Some Court Tech News and Notes – March 2019

https://www.neworleans.com/


This month we share some notes about CTC-2019, Connecticut Probate Court E-filing, a great blockchain article, transcription in Africa, text messaging programs, and some both bad and interesting England & Wales Court IT news. 



Friday, March 8, 2019

Akoma Ntoso Naming Convention Adopted as an OASIS-Open Standard



Edited from a press release received on March 5, 2019.

The OASIS LegalXML LegalDocML Technical Committee has achieved adoption of Akoma Ntoso markup structure of use “of XML within a Parliaments', Assembly's or Congress' document management processes, within courts' and tribunals' judgment management systems, and generally in legal documents including contracts.”




Friday, March 1, 2019

CTC 2019 Call for Proposals




We want to hear from you! The Court Technology Conference will feature multiple education tracks providing opportunities to learn about practical applications of technology and innovation in several topic areas. We are reaching out to the court community for session ideas that encourage teams of administrators, technologists, and judges to attend the conference. 

The deadline is March 15, 2019.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Comic Book Contracts



https://creative-contracts.com/

At the recent Innovating Justice Forum, I had the great honor of meeting South African lawyer Robert de Rooy who created the idea of Comic Book Contracts to allow “an illiterate person to understand their” employment contract.  While this is a technology blog, this is such a powerful idea I had to share it with our readers to think about in regard to both paper and online agreement systems.  More below…


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This and That in Court Tech – February 2019

https://goo.gl/NZgsos


This month we write about legislative support for court notification systems, BC’s new ODR system, a thought piece on AI helping to overcome judicial bias, a new Florida Bar natural language AI system, an ABA report on technology for non-lawyers, and an interesting report on understanding justice needs.




Monday, February 11, 2019

Court Technology Conference 2019



Registration for CTC 2019 to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana from September 10-12, 2019 is now open. Register now and you get the Early Bird rate.

NCSC’s Court Technology Conference (CTC) is the largest court technology conference in the world. Sign up now to join more than 1,500 court professionals in New Orleans for three days of learning, training, and networking at one of the most advanced court technology exhibit shows.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

ODR Forum 2019-Call for Presentations


Are you an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) professional or academic? Are you part of an organization that utilizes ODR? Do you design, develop, or implement ODR solutions? Do you study and measure ODR? The International ODR Forum 2019 to be held in Williamsburg, Virginia on October 29-30, 2019 needs you!


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

18 Ways Courts Should Use Technology to Better Serve their Customers



Back in October 2018, we see that our good friend and former NCSC colleague, John Greacen released the above-titled report issued by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver.  We briefly summarize below…


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Multi-Use Jury Assembly Rooms?


https://allaccesssys.com/jury-assembly-rooms/ 
For many years we have looked for ways to be able to “reuse jury assembly rooms”. Many jury assembly rooms consume a significant floorspace in courthouses simply because they need to be able to seat large numbers of persons at one time.  But the seating requirement is often only needed a few times per week or even per month.  Therefore, we have looked for ways to be able to easily divide these large spaces so that they can be used for other purposes.  A possible solution to the “dividing room problem” presented itself when I saw the Skyfold system.  n this post, I want to share some ideas as to how one might be able to apply it to your current or new courthouse.


Monday, January 14, 2019

This and That in Court Tech – January 2019




In this edition, we share information about a new court use of social media report, mobile video conferencing and identity verification, Connecticut Probate Court E-Filing, digital blockchain marriage certificates, an excellent self-help center website, and an upcoming conference.



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

eCourts 2018 Conference Session Videos Now Available

Roosevelt Sawyer, Chief Information Officer,
Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator


The video recordings for the great eCourts 2018 conference are now available for streaming here.

We are very pleased to be able to share the following list of excellent sessions below.











Friday, January 4, 2019

A Court Robot Mashup Idea



Some of you might remember the 1970’s and 80’s USA television commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup candy where the tagline was “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” 

I think I have a similar “mashup” idea for using robots in the courts.  I explain below.