30 August 2002
Missouri's "Case.Net" program earns national award
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Case.Net, the unique computerized case management program used by various courts around the state, has earned a "Best of Breed" award from the Center for Digital Government, an internationally recognized think-tank of experts in the use of information technology at all levels of government. Case.Net was only one of four court programs selected for its enterprise-wide applications, innovation, standardization and integration.
Case.Net was honored for its ability to provide up-to-the-minute public case information from all the state's appellate courts and 22 of its 45 judicial circuits, as well as from the statewide Fine Collection Center. It opens the entire court process, permitting anyone with an Internet connection to access information directly from the courts' automated filing systems, at any time or at any place. Its newest feature permits attorneys to view their own court calendars and the judges' court calendars as well.
"Case.Net has helped Missouri courts better serve the public by permitting the courts to communicate more effectively with the public," Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. said. "We are proud to receive this award, which recognizes the hard work and foresight needed to develop the system. People now make about 2 million requests each month through Case.Net."
Case.Net is just a part of Missouri's ongoing effort to automate its court system and make justice more accessible and more efficient. Before a particular court's records can be made available through Case.Net, the court first must join the statewide case management system.
"We initially had to wait until the technology developed to meet our unique needs, but since then we have been moving to get courts online as quickly as possible," Missouri Court Automation Committee Chair Clifford H. Ahrens, a judge on the Court of Appeals, Eastern District, said.
Although the original intent was to bring the remaining courts into the statewide case management system during the next few years, budget cuts have placed the plan on hold. One exception is the 16th Judicial Circuit, where Jackson County has decided to invest its own funds to bring its criminal and traffic court divisions into the statewide system. Its civil and probate court divisions already are on Case.Net. Currently, a team of Jackson County and state court automation program staff are planning the rollout of these additional divisions.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute providing government, industry and education leaders with decision support, research and educational resources to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. The Center's staff of experts selected these winning programs from more than 1,500 projects submitted by the 50 states in the Digital State Survey.