Ohio Supreme Court funding will help county court upgrade technology

CHECK PRESENTATION — The Ohio Supreme Court presented two checks to Jefferson County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for upgrades to the court’s online information systems. Participating were, from left, Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr., Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judi French, Common Pleas Judge Michelle Miller and county Clerk of Courts John Corrigan Jr. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — Jefferson County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday received a $132,803 technology grant from the Ohio Supreme Court to upgrade the court’s case-management system.

Common Pleas Judges Michelle Miller and Joseph Bruzzese Jr. and Clerk of Courts John Corrigan Jr. applied for the funding to modernize the case-management system.

“Due to the age of the current operating system, I was unable to secure updated equipment for my employees, which made it difficult to replace any broken or obsolete equipment,” Corrigan said. “This new system will allow for the employees to have the latest equipment and increase the speed and efficiency at which this office functions.”

Corrigan said he will be able to provide scanned images of court case pleadings, which will be available to the public. He said the scanned images will greatly reduce the amount of paper needed to be stored, which has become increasingly difficult because courthouse space is limited.

He said work on the project will begin immediately and be completed by the end of the year.

Probate/juvenile court also was awarded $5,640 for updating its case-management system.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judi French said the court began a technology initiative about five years ago, providing courts across the state with $14 million. The Ohio Supreme Court this year alone has handed out $2.7 million in grants to 47 different projects, she said.

She said the $132,803 check to common pleas court is substantial, adding the money to the common pleas court and the probate and juvenile court is equally helpful.

“Local courts say what they need and how much they need to accomplish that,” French said. “It is all about technology upgrades and better access to the courts. (The grants) makes the courts more efficient and accessible to the public, without having to worry about the money.”

Miller said the public’s access to the court records will be improved, which in turn will provide better access to justice.

She said it would have been difficult for the county alone to pay for the upgrades.

“It will increase the visibility of what the courts do and the role of the clerk of court’s office,” she said.

Miller said attorneys and the public can access the new system to check on hearings and view court documents, as opposed to calling court personnel or the clerk of courts, making the court more efficient in its operations.

Judges will be able to view the documents in a file instead of having to send a bailiff to the clerk’s office to retrieve a file.

Mindy Nash of juvenile court said probate and juvenile court will upgrade its website to include information for the public for better access to the court.

“We will put valuable information on it about the court’s processes so the public can be better informed and prepared when they have to come to court,” she said.


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