Doxpop - Tools for Attorneys and Public Information Researchers: June 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

LaPorte in transition- Much improved data is on the way!

LaPorte County has just completed their transition from an older case management system to the "Odyssey" system. This means that very soon, we'll be able to provide more timely notifications and cleaner data for the courts in LaPorte County. Updates will be "real-time" instead of nightly, and minute entries will be more complete.

However... there will be an interruption as we kickstart the process, and if you're depending on Doxpop for timely information from LaPorte, you need to know the details. Here's the planned schedule:

  • Late next week, we'll replace the existing LaPorte information with a complete "dump" of clean information extracted on July 1st, so information will be current as of July 1, but will not updated for a few days after that load.
  • In the following week, we'll begin the "real time" updates, so LaPorte information will be both current and complete from that point forward.
After the real-time updates are going, notifications will become much more timely, minute entries will be complete, and the court calendar will  become a more useful tool. We are looking forward to knowing that our patient customers will at long last be able to receive a level of value in LaPorte that we've long been able to deliver for other counties.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The CCS is back, with our apologies.

A couple of weeks ago, we thought we were improving and simplifying our system by replacing the old CCS link with the printable version of the case details. Boy were we wrong! Apparently the less detailed and simpler view is valuable to many folks, so the CCS is back.

Thanks to everyone who quickly gave us feedback about this. We do our best to make the Doxpop system better with each release, but when an "improvement" really isn't, we're willing to respond quickly.

The CCS link is available on both the search results list and in the upper right corner of case detail pages.

Please keep the feedback coming, and know that we appreciate you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Change is in the air! A new feature arrives, an old friend moves...

This weekend we released a couple of changes this weekend that moved an old feature, and added a new one.

First, your old friend, the printable CCS, has moved:
In the past, when you wanted the details of a case, you could either click on the case number, or on a link labelled "CCS" just to the right of the case number in the search results screen. The CCS view was a simpler layout, intended for printing the details rather than viewing them. We have eliminated this link, and now you should click on the case number any time you want case details. If you need a print version, click on the "Printable View" link in the upper right corner, and you'll get a simpler layout designed for printing.
Second, we're trying out a new type of search: 
On the "advanced search" screen, you'll find a link that invites you to try our new "Judgment Search". The Judgment Search is intended to help you find cases where a decision has been made against the defendant. This could be for something as simple as a speeding ticket or as complex as civil litigation resulting in a lien. 
The Judgment Search is a work in progress, so we're putting it out there without any guarantees and inviting you to use it in addition to your regular searching. Then give us your feedback so we can fine tune it. During this test period, you may do as many Judgment Searches as you want for free.
To appear on this screen, a case must match the name you enter for the defendant and also meet one of three criteria:

  1. The case may have been designated as one having a judgment or a satisfaction of judgment by the clerk. This is done either by entering an explicit judgment date, or by setting a flag indicating that a "Hard Copy" or "Document" containing Judgment has been filed in the permanent record. Many clerks always mark cases in this manner whenever they place a case in their Judgment Docket Book. For the clerks who use this approach, it provides a very complete record of judgments for their particular county.
  2. The case may have an "accounting entry", meaning that the clerk has been ordered by the court to collect some fee from the defendant for this case. In counties that do not make a judgment docket entry, this is a good method of being sure that a judgment has been entered against the defendant for this case, but may not provide a complete list of all cases where a judgment exists.
  3. The case may have a minute entry containing the key word "judgment" (or the alternate spelling "judgement".) This is also a good indication for the particular case identified, but, like the accounting entries, may not identify all cases for the county in question.
We're currently in the process of surveying all of the clerks we work with to learn which counties use the most complete method of flagging all cases where a judgment occurs, and for these counties, when that method was first used. When we have this information, we'll post it in a table. In the meantime, take a look and let us know what you think. It doesn't cost a thing to try it out, and your thoughts will help us make it better.