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In-box: Improving the way courts do business

March 2, 2011
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Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

Indiana courts are tackling a giant technology project. It matters because it affects both our efficiency and your ability to access court information for free. Right now, our state’s 400 trial courts don’t share case information with each other or with state agencies in the electronic ways that are so common in modern life. There are 21 different computer systems managing court information in our state. As you can imagine, we believe that is a bad business practice and we’re working to do better.

The solution is similar to getting your entire family on the same cell phone plan. It means some people have to get a new number, others have to change their ringtone, and old pictures have to be moved to a new phone. The company losing your business may not be very happy, but that’s not a reason to keep paying your old provider. In the end, it’s less expensive and just makes sense to have the entire family on one plan.

In 2007, we began installing our “family plan.” We selected it with the help of experts (14 bids were submitted to us). We did all the same things you do when changing carriers – considered what would be cost efficient, made sure everyone in the family could use the new system, and carefully searched for hidden costs! We’re confident we made the right choice with Tyler Technology’s case management system called “Odyssey.”

This new program is currently installed in 82 courts in 26 counties, comprising more than 30 percent of our state’s caseload. We’re continuing to install it in courts across Indiana as quickly and accurately as possible. We’re paying for it with federal grants and a $7 fee on certain court cases.

To speed up this installation, we’re asking the Legislature to temporarily increase that fee to $10, with an automatic reduction after we’re done. Finishing this project will finally allow all our courts to be on the same computer system. Essentially, our entire family will be able to share minutes, talk, and text. You have free public access to Odyssey at courts.in.gov.

We cannot afford to have our courts working on antiquated systems. With nearly 2 million cases filed each year in 400 courts with 175 clerks and 150 probation departments, spread across 36,000 square miles in communities large and small, it is imperative that we use technology to improve the way we do business.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall T. Shepard
 

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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