Am I the only one wondering how it’s already almost July?
In six short months, 2020 has certainly given us a run for our money. It seems like just yesterday I was chatting with Jim McMillan and the National Center for State Courts about hosting the “Justice Knows No Quarantine” webinar and now, thankfully, we’re seeing the world start to reopen.
Amazing how quickly time passes, isn’t it? And, in the case of 2020, how quickly life can change in such a short time.
So what has changed in the justice community since the last time we caught up? So much.
As the restraints of social distancing continue to ease, courtrooms everywhere aren’t so eager to jump “back to the future.” Originally unprepared for and uncertain about how to sustain justice operations, court communities were pushed into the deep end of end-to-end digital transformation and now, able to prepare for a return to normalcy, are realizing two things:
- Mobility and remote operations work well for everyone, especially the public, and lend themselves to more efficient court operations and, consequently, faster case turnarounds
- Back-up plans are necessary for the next time we need to pull the emergency string and drawback to socially distant life
From what I’m hearing, a return to the pre-pandemic way of justice would be a disservice to not only judges, law enforcement, clerks, court admins and the rest of the court community, but especially to the public they serve. Crime, protective orders, child welfare and several other critical cases cannot be paused every time there is some worldly turbulence. The justice community owes it to the people to be prepared to move forward in all circumstances, and always in the most secure, timely and trusted way possible.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Since 2019, and prior to any COVID-19 concerns, my product development team has been hard at work upgrading our Law Enforcement Agency Portal, also known as LEAP. With valued feedback from our customers and partners, our team has been committed to refining each step of law enforcement communications, be it warrant requests, submissions to the prosecutor’s office, status notifications, or otherwise. Before the world became so divided and distant, we knew this would be of priceless value to police officers, prosecutors, courts, and the entire court community.
What my team, like you, did not see coming was a health pandemic. Riots. Increased calls for transparency and accountability. Today, tools like LEAP are not just the exciting option they were intended to be. Digital transformation is now vital to ensuring our justice community not only endures the hardships of the times, but comes out more inter-connected, accountable and equipped than ever.
As you journey through this month’s newsletter, I hope you’ll find some inspiration for how your court can lean into the times and come out stronger. We know summer, like justice, cannot be cancelled and you’re doing your best to enjoy it, so please keep an eye out for webinars, podcasts, blogs, case studies, and other materials you can sign up for now and enjoy later – when and where it’s most convenient for you. And, as always, if you find yourself stumped, with questions or specific case-related concerns, our door is always open to you.
Sneak Preview: A Sequel to The Law Enforcement Agency Portal
Over the past year, our product development team has been quietly working behind-the-scenes to modernize ImageSoft’s Law Enforcement Agency Portal, also known as LEAP. And while the official red-carpet rollout is still TBD, we want our justice community to share in the excitement about this revolutionary future of law enforcement communications.
The Jury Is Out and a Mobile Future Might Be In – The Courthouse, That Is.
Even as courts lean into digital transformation, there’s still one major hesitation: mobile technology. Should smartphones finally be allowed inside the courtroom? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Join the 22nd Judicial Circuit’s Trial Court Administrator Dan Wallis and ImageSoft’s Senior Sales Engineer Terry Chaudhuri for an engaging conversation that finally puts a pulse on the industry’s journey toward a mobile future.
“Zoom”ing in On Public Access to the Virtual Court
As the title of our recent NCSC-partnered webinar illustrated, “Justice Knows No Quarantine.” And in the case of criminal offenses, child wellbeing and other critical matters, justice truly could not wait out the still-in-progress return to normal. Courtrooms across the country quickly took to Zoom and other virtual conferencing platforms in efforts to carry on, knowing urgency needed to take precedent over perfection. As a result, some considerations were left out – namely, public access to trials and virtual seats for Court Watchers.
With Judges and court staff now comfortable and in the habit of virtual hearings, Court Watch programs are calling for better transparency and increased public access. More on the case of digital courtroom monitoring can be read in the Court Today’s article, “The Judge Will See You On Zoom, But The Public Is Mostly Left Out.”
The Courtroom Conundrum: Does Justice “Go Back to Normal”?
Marriage licenses. Concealed weapon permits. Probate activities.
These seemingly straight-forward processes have been giant question marks for many citizens and court personnel over the last few months. As nation-wide cases of COVID-19 began to rise, the every-day processes we took for granted suddenly crumbled – not even the Judge could get into a courthouse, let alone anyone seeking a certificate of some sorts.
Initially, everyone scrambled to quickly stand-up alternative, digital solutions and sustain necessary court-related operations. For some, the learning curve was steep for video conferencing platforms like Zoom, electronic signing and filing tools, and eArraignments. With time, however, these now-electronic processes are treasured tools that optimize staff’s productivity, safeguard data security and have introduced the element of mobility to their workday.
Today, as the nation slowly reopens, the only giant question mark remaining is this: will courts ever go back to the completely in-person, manual processes they once struggled to let go of?
The Courts Today article, “Will COVID-19 Cause Long-Term Tech Changes for Courts?” offers some perspective.
What Can We Do For You?
ImageSoft guides courts through the various challenges of becoming a paperless court. Our industry-leading solutions offer a component model methodology to automated workflows, improved speed and efficiency, reduced costs and proper compliance.
ImageSoft is ready to help your court system reap the benefits from digital transformation.