Doxpop - Tools for Attorneys and Public Information Researchers: What we learned from Justice Sullivan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What we learned from Justice Sullivan.

On Friday, Ray and I attended a meeting of the Commission on Courts. Justice Sullivan's comments at that meeting about the JTAC effort to roll out a statewide Case Management System included a couple of interesting assertions. -Both in connection with an astute question from Representative Ryan Dvorak. He inquired about courts who wished to continue using their current Case Management System and whether any standards for compatibility were contemplated. The answer was revealing:

1) In regard to standards, Sullivan asserted that the State Court had tried that path and decided that because technology advances so quickly, that approach was unworkable.

This highlights a fundamental difference in our approaches. At Doxpop, we believe that the best way to keep pace with technology is to create functional standards to promote the consistent administration of justice and then allow the free market to respond with the best technology has to offer.

2) In regard to the systems currently existing, I understood from Justice Sullivan that the strategy is to roll out the Odyssey CMS to any county that will accept it freely and then ask the public policy question of whether local courts should be allowed to spend public funds on a system that is "technically inferior".

This makes the uncertain assumption that the State's system is superior technology. County Courts have been discouraged from replacing or upgrading their systems since 1995 and this has resulted in outdated technology in many counties. However, the courts that have decided to move forward on their own currently enjoy features such as document management, integrated probation modules, e-filing and on-line access to a statewide repository of public court records- features that are certainly on par with or exceed the features of system installed in Monroe County.

A modest proposal: Let's all work together to serve the people of Indiana. The free market has a way of keeping pace with technology despite the best efforts of government.

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