Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Online Courtroom Project Announced

Via Press Release:

Announcing the formation of THE ONLINE COURTROOM PROJECT

In an era of social distancing, how do we stay together to ensure that justice is still done? How can we protect our constitutional right to be judged by a jury of our peers if we are required to stay physically apart? How do we ensure our constitutional access to justice when some courthouse doors are locked? Is justice possible when parties, witnesses, and even triers of fact appear online? These are pressing questions for our legal system and our democracy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

First remote jury trial shows potential for widespread use

From @the Center newsletter by the NCSC on May 5, 2020

Let the record show that history was made at 8 a.m. CDT Monday, May 18, 2020, in northeast Texas, where 26 potential jurors met in the comfort of their homes for the nation’s first-ever remote jury trial, presided over by two judges, one of whom was making sure the technology worked the way it should.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

This and That in Court Technology May 2020

In this month’s highlights we share information about the PASS (Public Access Software Spec), our NCSC Tiny Chat about digital signatures, e-notarization and digital notice, Tyler’s Virtual Court offering, virtual court hearings in Nigeria, an electronic hearing practice guide posted by the Trinidad and Tobago Judiciary, and special offers by Microsoft for public safety and non-profits in response to the pandemic.

Friday, May 1, 2020

May First 2020, Court Tech News and Notes

In this compilation of news items, we share several from the National Center for State Courts including the upcoming “Virtual Doctor Is In” Sessions, news about the Supreme Court ruling on Georgia’s law Copywrite assertion, a new speech to text system, and some words of wisdom.

Friday, April 24, 2020

And Now for Something Completely Different

To quote Monty Python, we have some different court tech subject matter to share in this post. 

The COSCA/NACM Joint Technology Committee has issued two new Resource Bulletins.  The first is an "Introduction to AI for Courts".  The second is "Getting Started with a Chatbot."

More below…

Monday, April 20, 2020

eFileTexas 2.0 RFO Issued

Big Tex at the Texas State Fair
The Texas Office of Court Administration is providing an official notification of an RFO titled “eFileTexas 2.0”.

 The Texas Office of Court Administration (OCA), a judicial branch agency that assists the Supreme Court of Texas with the administration of the Texas courts, invites submissions of offers for systems and services for a statewide cloud‐based, COTS electronic filing system, a document access system, a redaction component, and a forms assembly solution (“eFileTexas 2.0” or “Solution”).

Friday, April 17, 2020

It’s Happening

A meme from Arrested Development, Season 3, Episode 1
I think that many of our friends in Court Technology are astounded at the rapid changes that have been implemented in the courts in just the past five weeks?  Today’s post will list a few of the many uses of web and audio conferencing along with the rules and procedures including a terrific website by CTC 2019 keynote speaker Richard Susskind, SCOTUS instituting audio oral arguments available to the public starting in May 2020, Texas Supreme Court arguments, YouTube streaming, and technical guidance, and Michigan’s Virtual Courtroom Task Force report.

Friday, April 10, 2020

JTC Quick Response Bulletin on Virtual Hearings

Strategic Issues to Consider when Starting Virtual Hearings

Courts all over the world are adapting quickly to operational limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. As courts pivot to provide essential services without bringing the public as well as court staff into the courthouse where they could be exposed to, or could expose others to a potentially deadly virus, remote hearings are suddenly essential. In this rapidly evolving situation, courts must still bear in mind key decision points, assumptions, and challenges as well as opportunities as they go forward. This JTC Quick Response Bulletin provides important reminders designed to ensure courts succeed with these efforts while continuing to play the essential role courts play in civil society.

Click here to view/download the 7 April 2020 PDF version of the report.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Online Training on Court Tech Response to the Pandemic

There are multiple training events and podcasts on technology and management responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The NCSC is hosting an online seminar on Tuesday, April 7 at 3:00 PM EDT. 

Details on that and others are listed below:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

US Federal Courts Announcement: Judiciary Authorizes Video/Audio Access During COVID-19 Pandemic

Press Release: Published on March 31, 2020

In order to address health and safety concerns in federal courthouses and courtrooms, the Judicial Conference of the United States has temporarily approved the use of video and teleconferencing for certain criminal proceedings and access via teleconferencing for civil proceedings during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Court Web Conferencing Tips

In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to share some tips from more than twenty years using videoconferencing and web conferencing technology for presentations, technology development and support.  We begin:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Courts and Coronavirus: Is Videoconferencing a Solution?

Video Conference Room at the Ninth Judicial Circuit, Florida

Building upon our JTC Teleservices post earlier this monthI received permission from the author (and good friend), Prof Anne Wallace of Latrobe University to re-post the following article from another friend, Norman Meyer's Court Leader blog.

The global coronavirus pandemic is having profound effects and the responses by governments, health care providers, individuals, etc., is ongoing. At this time (mid-March) we do not have all the answers and the totality of what may happen is yet to be learned. Nevertheless, there are actions we can take to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. One way this can happen is to have courts use technology to enable remote personal appearances. Today’s blog post is written by Professor Anne Wallace, whose research about the issues involved in such remote appearances provides valuable information for courts worldwide to consider as they cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Many thanks go to her for this valuable information.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

JTC Resource Bulletin: Case Studies in ODR for Courts

Since the JTC first released a publication on the topic of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in 2016, there has been a seismic shift in US courts’ practical experience as well as interest in ODR. This paper highlights ODR implementations that illustrate a sample of technologies, philosophies, and approaches to the used.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Virus Outbreak Prompts China's Courts to go Online

We learned from the South China Morning Post (via a repost from Abacus)

As a result of the COVID-19 (Corona Virus) outbreak, the courts in China have moved much of their work to online electronic services.

"The Shanghai High Court recorded a 63 percent increase in online court cases compared with the same period last year, state media reported. In addition to handling court case filings online, the court is using online platforms to handle payments, contact with judges, material submissions and other litigation services. Remote court trials are conducted over video links.

Online court technology is also being used in other parts of the country, but not everything is going smoothly. Assistant judge Ma Chengcheng of the Intermediate People’s Court in Xinyang told local media that before the trial, participants needed to be contacted by phone or WeChat and patiently walked through how to use the software."

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

eCourts 2020 Call for Proposals is Open

Our eCourts 2020 conference staff release the following announcement:

eCourts 2020 will provide opportunities to learn about both practical applications of technology as well as innovations that may impact the courts. We are reaching out to the court community for session ideas that will energize the teams of administrators, technologists, and judges who attend the eCourts conference.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

JTC Resource Bulletin - Cybersecurity Basics

In December 2019 the Joint Technology Committee (JTC) established by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) issued a new Resource Bulletinon Cybersecurity Basics for Courts.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

This and That in Court Technology – February 2020

Irish Beef Stew

Just like the winter Irish beef stew shown in the picture to the right, we have a mix of great projects/ingredients to share this month.  They include serious security warning for Microsoft Windows, new AI decision reader from ROSS Intelligence, Lex Machina AI expanding into state courts, the PACER fees federal appeals hearing, Alaska Emailing jury summons, and automation program news from England & Wales and a new automation budget commitment for Ireland.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

JTC Resource Bulletin - Teleservices for Courts

Teleservices is the delivery of services from a distance using telephony and/or digital technologies. There are a growing number of innovative utilizations with a track record of success in both the public and private sectors. Teleservices can be more widely utilized for some court processes, saving courts and the public time and money, better meeting client needs, reducing security risks to medical and behavioral health providers and the public, and improving the public’s access to justice.

Monday, February 10, 2020

E-Courts 2020 Registration is Open

Registration for eCourts 2020 is open. The conference runs December 7–9, 2020, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. You should register today to book at our lowest block pricing.


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Report on Court Appearances in Criminal Proceedings Through Telepresence

McGlothlin Courtroom - William and Mary Law School

I had the pleasure of participating, along with many court and academic friends, in the focus group on using Telepresence (video conferencing)for an excellent report released this month from RAND Corporation via their Priority Criminal Justice Needs Program funded by the National Institute of Justice.

More below:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Legislatures Considering Text Notification Statutes

Our fellow NCSC blog, Gavel to Gavel, posted an interesting article today regarding legislatures in Colorado, Tennessee, and Massachusetts to require... yes, require courts to be able to send reminders to court participants. 

Three state legislatures consider programs to require courts notify defendants by text of upcoming court hearings

Bills in three states have been filed in the last month to require state courts (in particular the various administrative offices of the courts) to develop text reminder system.

Friday, January 17, 2020

This and That in Court Tech – January 2020

Court technology news this month includes the Florida court’s E-Notify system, automatic transcription news, US Federal Courts PACER, and observations on how to make access to justice (A2J) work, and digital documentation using AI.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Singapore Chief Justice Maps Court's Tech Future

The New Singapore Courts Tower

We follow the Judiciary of Singapore closely here at the Court Technology Bulletin.  Being a small country, they can take bold steps in their technology portfolio.  On January 6, 2020 Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon made his annual Opening of the Legal Year address which highlighted many tech programs.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Protecting Judges with Avatars

A computer-generated image of a young woman
Here is the problem.  In some countries, judges face immediate physical danger every day.  Some projects have tried to use video conferencing to physically separate the judges from the criminal defendants to increase safety.  But, the root problem is the actual identity of the judges. Even where defendants are incarcerated in prisons or jails; if they are members of criminal families, or corrupt police, or military, their compatriots can potentially attack and even kill the judge and their families.

There is now a potential technical solution to this threat by using lifelike avatars in the video conference to protect the identity of the judge.  Now we aren’t suggesting cartoon-like avatars such as you find in video games or mobile phone apps.  We are suggesting the use of lifelike avatars that track a person’s facial features, eye movement, and dilation. Not surprising, because of their ownership of Oculus, Facebook is a tech leader here.  For an example of the work they are doing in this area see: