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Judicial Council Looks to Digitize California Courts

The Judicial Council's new Strategic Plan for Technology is set to continue modernizing California's courts.

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The California Judicial Council, which recently gained an IT leader, has released its new Strategic Plan for Technology in an effort to continue modernizing California's courts.

"The updated content includes a continued emphasis on promoting the digital court through digital services, data-driven decision-making, strengthening the branch IT community, and advancing a secure and scalable infrastructure," public information officer Blaine Corren told Techwire in an email.

The new plan focuses those four goals around access, reliability and innovation.

It replaces a previous attempt to centralize court systems, which was ended in 2012 because it was over budget. That case management system was further developed in some larger courts,  but in the accordance with the new plan, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye has tasked all courts with reaching these goals:

  • Physical: Courts must be safe, secure, accessible, and open during hours that benefit the public.
  • Remote: Court users should be able to conduct their business online.
  • Equal: Courts must serve people of all languages, abilities and needs, in keeping with California's diversity.
The plan also connects to initiatives created by the Council's Futures Commission, which "is taking a fresh look at ways to deliver justice and court services more efficiently without compromising fairness or due process," according to the Council's website.

According to Corren, some systems the Council anticipates courts adopting to reach those goals are:

  • Case management systems
  • Document management systems
  • Networking and security
  • Websites
  • Video systems
  • Jury management systems
  • Systems that interface with justice partners
  • Other technologies that facilitate access to justice through online or electronic digital services
While there is no actual centralized system being built, "courts have opportunities to leverage statewide master services agreements with five core case management system vendors," Corren wrote.

Vendors can find requests for proposals from the Council here. Individual courts publish on their own sites.

As of Monday, the Council also has a new CIO in Heather Pettit

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.