By Melody Vallieu
Miami Valley Today
TROY — The Miami County court system will receive a technology upgrade thanks to a grant to the county from the Ohio Supreme Court.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael P. Donnelly on Thursday made a stop in the county to award $74,403 to update the court’s existing Case Management System (CMS) to an electronic filing system. The system, which will be available in both Common Pleas and Municipal courts, should be in place by the end of the year.
Miami County is one of 54 local court projects receiving more than $3.2 million through the Ohio Supreme Court’s Ohio Courts Technology Initiative, Donnelly said. This is the fifth year of disbursements since Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor initiated the program, with just over $17 million being received by courts across Ohio, he said.
The Ohio Courts Technology Initiative was established to improve the exchange of information and warehousing of data by and between Ohio courts and other justice system partners, an endeavor that includes the Ohio Courts Network.
“The initiative makes lots of innovations possible, including the enhancement of the Ohio Court Network, a database that connects judges and courts around the state with each other and then law enforcement,” Donnelly said. “It is my hope, I have been advocating with the sentencing commission, to connect all these databases and at some point in the future have a central sentencing database so that we can all work together, look at similar offenders with similar backgrounds, and we can make our criminal sentencing more uniform and proportional throughout the state of Ohio.”
Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt said county staff have been working for the past several years to bring the Case Management System into the most updated technology using the e-Filing feature.
“Our goal is to efficiently and economically do this,” Pratt said. “We are always striving to be safeguards of public money. That is very important to all of us.”
Pratt said e-Filing will allow attorneys, litigants and the public to file documents from any location via the internet. She said this will save on administrative and personal costs and time. There will be no case files and need for storage for case files, Pratt said.
“Our courts will essentially be paperless,” Pratt said.
Municipal Court Judge Gary Nasal said the grant will not only help county staff, but also the public navigate the criminal justice system.
“You know you often hear about access to the judicial system being one of the highest ethical aspirations that there is in the criminal justice system. And all of these various technology projects that have come along and been supported by the court and then supported by the legislature, enhance that access to the public and enhance their ability to have a logical, hopefully somewhat brief, or at least no too elongated trip through the criminal justice system.”
Including this year, the technology grants from the Supreme Court have helped fund more than 450 projects in Ohio.