Friday, 20 January 2012

This and That in Court Tech - January, 2012

During the past month we have found quite a few interesting bits of information that we would like to share with our readers below.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Federal Bankruptcy Courts Provide Online Chat Help

I have often told acquaintances that one goal of court automation is to allow court staff to be able to have enough time to answer the telephone.  But now the courts have another option. The December, 2011 edition of the US Federal Court newsletter, The Third Branch has an article on Bankruptcy courts describing their implementation of online chat titled "Chat Live Now!"

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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Data Visualization

Graphic from
An area of automation that the courts have generally ignored has been data visualization.  While my colleague, Dr. Ingo Keilitz has worked for many years on digital dashboard concepts, there is a lot that can be done.

One excellent example was posted by the authors at Computational Legal Studies  that presents "The Development of Structure in the Citation Network of the United States Supreme Court".  This two minute online video of a growing "network diagram" representing the early relationship of cases is fascinating.

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Friday, 6 January 2012

Maricopa County ICJIS Director Job Announcement

We received the following message yesterday to pass along to our community:

Maricopa County (located in Phoenix, AZ) has an outstanding career opportunity for ICJIS (Integrated Criminal Justice Information System) Director.  The successful candidate will establish and oversee a project management agency to coordinate the planning, development, implementation and maintenance of and ICJIS system for Maricopa County.  Salary range: $101,296 - $157,019/Yr.

Mobile Legal Services

Our good friends at Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute (via Rob Richards) posted a very interesting article on December 22, 2011 regarding the potential for the use of mobile telephone messaging/SMS for legal services.  The author, Sean Martin McDonald (founder of, argues that the ubiquity of mobile telephones provides great potential for many legal services including legal client intake and referral, client and case management.  And I would add training and document verification as other possibilities.

Bridging "the last mile" between the clients and legal services (including courts) are important.  The author concludes the article with the following:
"I don’t think any of this will square me with my property-law professor.  I’m not sure I’ll ever fix property law.  But I do think that by reaching out to new populations using the technologies in their pockets, we can make a difference in the way people interact with the law. And even if that’s just a little bit, even if it just enables one percent more people to protect their homes, start a business, or pursue a better life, isn’t that worth it?"
Hear, hear!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Hey US Postal Service - The Courts Need This!

We're all back at work at the NCSC and want to first wish everyone a good and productive 2012.

Over the break we heard of several services offered by the Postal Service in Switzerland that would be extremely useful to the US Courts.

The first service is called IncaMail (PDF document link) that provides secure encrypted e-mail.  An interesting aspect is that "during the initial (first time) registration, both the e-mail address and the physical address of the user are verified by sending an activation code."
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