Judge for yourself how courts are getting smarter

Fri, 2015-03-13 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

In Lubbock County, Texas, word has it a new online jury reporting system is living up to its potential. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that not only does online reporting save would-be jurors time, it is increasing response rates to jury summonses. No more sitting around in a courthouse basement waiting to be called to service; with online reporting people can stay home or
at work until they get a call or text message that they're needed.

And what's happening in Lubbock County is just one example of how the tradition-bound legal system is embracing new technology.

Jurors see powerful evidence
A new 3D laser scanner that police in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area are using to document crime scenes is saving police time and effort. The Leica Geosystems ScanStation also makes presenting evidence to juries much easier.

As police detective Chris Lechner said in a LancasterOnline report: "There’s no more powerful evidence than showing jurors what happened. Visual evidence is the best form of evidence." Others say seeing complex crime scenes in a three-dimensional way gives jurors a much better perspective of what happened.

In Walla Walla, Washington, courtroom video conferencing technology is being installed to, among other things, eliminate the expense of transporting prisoners from the state penitentiary to the courthouse and juveniles from the detention center.

Courts are also moving to online document storage and access. Paperless systems not only increase efficiency, they can also reduce expense. According to Stateline, a study in Manatee County, Florida found that e-filing more than two million documents a year saved nearly $1 million.

Tech providers provide
Several Council partners offer solutions that help courts streamline services to save money and time. Among them:

  • IBM's advanced case management for government unifies information, processes and people to provide a 360-degree view of a case through the use of integrated analytics, business rules, collaboration and social computing, which help optimize case outcomes.
  • Imex Systems provides a customer service system based on Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing technology platform. It is part of the company's iGov suite of smart government products.
  • Oracle's integrated Justice and Public Safety technology helps courts operate more efficiently and work more closely with their law enforcement and corrections partners.
  • SunGard Public Sector's ONESolution Justice suite automates and expedites tasks and tracks all case information from initial logging of potential cases, to trial and conviction.

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Liz Enbysk is the Council's Editorial Director. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.