Court Cooties

Authored by Paul Gorman, Account Executive, ImageSoft

In grade school, every boy knew that girls could give them cooties! Not even a cootie shot, we rationalized, would help.  I think we all knew that cooties were not actually fatal, but why chance it?

During the current COVID 19 crisis, Courts were very concerned about interacting with the huge variety of participants they serve on a typical day. Dare I say they were fearful of spreading “Court Cooties”?  Prisons could mitigate crowding but releasing some inmates. Non-essential workers could stay home. But courthouses? Obviously, they could not shut down. Courts had to be in business even when nothing else was. So how, then, could they avoid these “Court Cooties”?

For some of us who have long been singing the praises of paperless courts, the COVID 19 crisis tacked on to the long list of benefits courts could obtain by implementing paperless technologies.  In addition to the frequently cited efficiencies, lower costs and better service triple-play, full-service courts, consistent with social distancing guidelines, were now available. No Court Cooties!

To meet this challenge only asks that a couple technologies be seamlessly implemented:

  1. ImageSoft TrueFiling™
    • TrueFiling is comprised of an EFSP and an EFM. An Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) is a secure, user-friendly Filing Assembly web portal that is designed for easy and convenient preparation and submission of court filings. The Electronic Filing Manager (EFM) leverages the power of OnBase® Workflow and ECM functionality for Filing Review processing. For a deeper dive into both, check out this blog. TrueFiling also includes a payment processor, and conforms to LegalXML ECF 4.01, giving the court the option of allowing other ECF compliant EFSPs to interact with the system. The TrueFiling EFM is enhanced with two other leading ImageSoft products to complement the Filing Review workflow:
      • TrueSign for Electronic Signature by Judges, etc.  Allows permanent markups such as text, arrows, lines, redactions, stamps, seals and other changes associated with the document
      • TrueCertify to provide certified documents electronically
  1. OnBase’s Enterprise Content Management platform provides configurable and scalable workflow CMS / EDMS technology for use by Court and Clerk staff. Both Gartner and Forrester Research regard it as an industry leader. It is the most user-friendly CMS/EDMS software on the market, and I encourage you to read more about it here.

The Court Cooties’ Antidote

After filing, all case files are in OnBase and can be either transferred or integrated to the Court’s CMS product, providing either: a) a temporary repository of filed documents with the permanent file residing in the CMS; or b) retention of permanent Court records within OnBase. The Case File, of course, is integrated with the Case Records system (CMS) using OnBase’s codeless integration technology.

A number of critical components exist that facilitate the paperless court:

  • Files: Filers can initiate a case, or submit filings, to an existing case and pay for the filings online.
  • Case Search: Filers can go here to view case information, including opposing parties’ filings. From this page, filers can also add themselves or another party as a case contact and file to a case.
  • History: Filers may go here to view payment receipts for previous filings, copies of filings they’ve submitted, and check the status of any filings currently being processed by the court.
  • Favorites: Filers can maintain a list of “favorite” cases for easy access in the system.

Maintained Daily, These Practices Sustain a Healthy Court System

All the above features empower the legal community to sustain justice while avoiding physical contact with the Courthouse to file, access court files, request hearings and/or review case activity. In short, every activity, with the exception of hearings, that normally requires a physical appearance at the courthouse can now be handled online.

Whether applied in times of social distancing, for better-supported CJIS compliance efforts, or to lean into the future of mobility and working-from-home, remote court operations better support the courts and their court staff, especially when it comes to avoiding a case of the Court Cooties!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *