Friday, 26 August 2011

The Search for Quiet

Courtroom proceedings are an often intense environment during which one strains to hear every nuance of spoken communication.  And while there are many problems with courtroom acoustics, especially in large courtrooms, the tapping of keyboards can be disturbing.

In 2007 Judge Michael Marcus from the Circuit Court of Multnomah County Oregon shared his views on his quest for a quiet keyboard.  That quest continues to this day.  But as expected, there are two recent technology innovations that could be considered as a solution to this problem.

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Friday, 19 August 2011

Eight Rules of E-Filing: Rule #5

Efficiency.  E-filing should facilitate more efficient court processes and decisions. 

First, once E-filing is implemented courts should re-engineered their rules and processes to take advantage of the new capabilities.  A good example is the court in Baltimore, Maryland that adjudicated thousands of asbestos matters.  The judge worked with the attorneys to group the electronic submissions 10 at a time containing identical facts (same shipyard, timeframe, and injury) and in turn modified the review presentation screen so that he could more quickly review and approve the civil settlement for the filers.

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Monday, 15 August 2011

Federal Court Self-Filer's Examined

The July, 2011 edition of The Third Branch newsletter contains an important article summarizing a study on current services to self-represented and "Pro-se" filers offered by US federal courts.  The article: IN-DEPTH: Leveling the Playing Field: Help for Self-Filers reports on both automated and direct self-help services offered.  One side-bar in the article noted:

"...A disturbingly large number of litigants come to the Clinic with basic reading and comprehension problems; some cannot even read Court orders and the opposition's filings.  Others can decipher the words in the documents but cannot comprehend even the simplest of Court orders."

The article also updates the Central District of Illinois project for Pro-Se E-Filing for Prisoners that was previously highlighted in the CTB.

This article is highly recommended.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Eight Rules of E-Filing: Rule #4

Rule Number 4: Court document creation must be integrated with the CMS.  

A great percentage of documents in a case file are produced by the court.  Therefore it is imperative that a court e-filing system seamlessly interact with the court’s case management system (CMS) and word processing capabilities.

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Friday, 5 August 2011

This and That in Court Technology - August 2011

Oklahoma Funds CMS Via Increased Court Fees

The Tulsa World newspaper reports that an increase in court filing fees from $10 to $25 has resulted in approximately $32 million dollars used to fund their statewide court case management system.

Wolfram Releases Computable Document Format

In continuing work on "useful" electronic documents, the Wolfram company has released a new format called Computable Document Format that can be used to create interactive reports.  Sounds perfect for project like Smart Sentencing.

New York State E-Courts Projects Noted

The New York Times newspaper recently highlighted work being done by the New York State Courts to transition to electronic records.

The Future of Court Reporters is Explored

In an article posted on the blog, "Are Court Reporters 'Medival Scribes' Headed for Extinction", issues regarding the technology and services are discussed.

ABA Survey finds e-Filing and e-Service on the Rise

Thanks to a note via Kendall Collins Smith of Lexis-Nexis (one of the sponsors) we learned of the release of a recent survey created by the American Bar Association on Litigation and Courtroom Technology including the use of e-filing.