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Monday, July 28, 2014

Courts - "Kentucky courts one step closer to online public access"

Carrie Blackmore Smith reported July 23rd for the Cincinnati Enquirer:

A statewide project to digitize court records – and eventually make them more accessible to the public – advanced this week with the launch of electronic filing in Kenton County Circuit Court.

Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Gallatin and Franklin counties now provide the 24-7 service for civil cases.

But the goal is to get all 120 Kentucky counties and all types of cases operating on a single system by the end of 2015, said Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller, chair of the courts’ Technology Governance Committee and leader of this effort, already 10 years in the making.

Here in Northern Kentucky, the goal is to give the public the ability to look up cases online – for a nominal subscription fee – by the end of the year or early next year, Keller said. * * *

Funding had been the system’s biggest hurdle, Keller said, until the Kentucky Legislature gave the state’s courts permission in 2013 to borrow $28.1 million – enough to get everyone up and running. * * *

E-filing simplifies the work for court clerks, lawyers and judges. * * *

E-filing should also save law firms and legal aid agencies time and money, Keller said, because they won’t have to constantly send runners to and from the court houses to file and pick up documents.

Keller hopes all of these efficiencies will reduce the cost of doing business in the courts. * * *

She’s eager for the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court to be included in the effort, too, so she can carry around a DVD or thumb drive of the cases she reviews, instead of lugging around boxes and boxes of records.

Keller sees this as just another efficiency in the Kentucky court system, which has already done away with bail bondsmen, records court proceedings with audio and video (instead of relying on court reporters) and has implemented video arraignments.

“By studying other state’s (computerized) systems, we’ve learned from their mistakes and successes,” Keller said, “and think we’ll have one of the best systems in the country.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 28, 2014 09:36 AM
Posted to Courts in general