Summit County, Ohio: Summit County Common Pleas Court Administrative Judge Amy Corrigall Jones is pleased to announce the General Division will soon have technology upgrades having been awarded over $50,000 in grant funds by The Supreme Court of Ohio.
The Supreme Court has a competitive process and provides technology grants to assist Ohio courts and justice partners in funding upgrades to operations, innovative justice initiatives and more. Each grant type is targeted to a specific need or use that assists in removing barriers to the efficient and effective administration of justice.
“The General Division is committed to efficiently administering justice with enhanced technology and the funded projects will certainly serve court users well,” stated Judge Corrigall Jones.
The first project will allow the Common Pleas Court General Division to implement an evidence management software upgrade to the existing case management system, allowing for the electronic processing and handling of evidence. Court reporters are currently responsible for indexing, managing and disposing of evidence. This process is tedious and time-consuming, particularly the process involved in disposing of evidence.
Adding features to the existing case management framework will allow court staff to index evidence, track and print evidence lists, email copies and images of evidence to those involved in the case, and have a record of evidence and its location at all times. Once there is a verdict in the case, the system will trigger a timeline for destruction and automatically populate a letter that complies with Ohio Revised Code and other applicable rules for parties announcing the deadline to retrieve evidence before destruction.
In addition, funding was received to redesign the court website. The website redesign will include upgrades to assist non-English speaking users, individuals with disabilities, and self-represented litigants; enhance juror applications; upgrade cyber security; and bridge that gap between the public and justice system.
The site will feature Google Translator offering site text in various languages and audio and visual enhancements designed for low-vision and hearing-impaired users; a self-help center featuring self-represented litigants, with expanded information regarding court 2 processes, providing more court forms and automatic formatting to any mobile device will make navigation easier for users with barriers and the general public. Collectively, these efforts ensure inclusion of individuals with language, disability and income barriers in the justice system and reduces self-litigant costs.
With the website redesign, Summit County jurors will be able to obtain jury status information and applications online to make the process easier for potential jurors. Streamlined operations should also reduce the volume of incoming mail and phone inquiries, allowing jury staff more time to focus on improving the juror experience.
Technology saturating our daily lives has necessitated improved online access to justice, despite courts traditionally remaining isolated from the public. Real-time court updates about court events, a slideshow of major court announcements and links to other courtrelated content will better connect the Court with the public. Such efforts, along with upgraded cyber security, aim to improve transparency and the public’s confidence in the justice system.
“Recognizing the need to expand our web presence and the services we offer to the diverse population we serve, the website redesign is certainly a priority for the court,” stated Judge Corrigall Jones. “The redesign will allow the public to participate in and gain information about the justice system. Improving access to justice is a key component of the website redesign and the Court is looking forward to unveiling the updated website in the coming months,” concluded Judge Corrigall Jones.