State courts throughout the United States are taking advantage of technology and speeding up their case loads with it. This paper will discuss the Electronic Records Management System and Videoconferencing used in courts.
One method in which states are reducing their case loads is by Electronic Records Management System. Oklahoma is using this system. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of Administrative Hearings (DHS/OAH), located in Oklahoma City, handles child support cases for the entire state. They prepare about 3,000 cases a month for dockets. With the old system the files were pulled and mailed to the 30 child support offices throughout the state. Once the hearings were conducted and completed the judges mailed those files back to DHS/OAH. This was very costly, inefficient and time consuming, not to mention the risk of court files being lost in the mail. Also the files were not available immediately, as they were in transit, for correspondence. Business Imaging Systems, Inc. (BIS) provides them with document imaging, storage, retrieval and management solutions. This makes imaged case files available online for staff and the judges. Other valuable functions of this system include annual calendars for judges, monthly reports, and number of cases set per office from each office. This has not only eliminated postage costs but also improved customer service (Today).
Another method being used in the courts to speed up their case loads is the use of videoconferencing to hold proceedings in criminal cases, first appearances and arraignments. Many state courts are using two-way videoconferencing throughout the country. When this method is used some participants are in the court room and others are in a remote location. All participants are able to view and hear each other on a TV monitor. Audio and visual signals are transmitted through high speed telephone lines. This provides for not only saving time in the courts but also is a cost savings for the courts and others, such as attorneys and witnesses that would have to travel a long distance to participate in the hearing. Video conferencing is now being used in used in a number of different types of court proceedings (Molly).
- Managing the case load. (2004). Today, 26(2), 38-39. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.snhu.edu
- Molly, T. J., & Wiggins, E. C. (2006). Videoconferencing in criminal proceedings: Legal and empirical issues and directions for research. Law & Policy, 28(2), 211-227.