What will be done with cases that were initially filed in paper form? Will we continue to use paper until those cases have been closed? Will the efiling start on a particular day and after that day, all new case submissions be electronic?
Closed or inactive case files will most likely not be converted to electronic format, or will be converted on an as-needed basis (most likely due to being reopened or some other demand). The strategy for converting active case files will be determined with the chosen vendor. E-filing will be allowed from Day 1 of MDEC operation; when (or if) it will be required has not yet been decided. It is also planned that paper filings will be scanned and maintained electronically from Day 1.
Since the plan is to create a core architecture first, will additional pieces of the case management system be rolled out to the State on a piece by piece basis?
The goal of the implementation is to minimize implementation disruption and related impact on the courts. The Judiciary prefers that a single implementation of a complete system be conducted for each court. As with all software, subsequent versions with additional functionality will be rolled out over time; however, the initial rollout is intended to support all court operations.
Will the roll out be by region? How will it be implemented?
Rollout will take place by county, but a final rollout plan has not been completed.
What will happen with the old paper files?
Paper files of closed cases will not be digitized. These files will be retained and managed according to current retention schedules. Certain old files may be digitized on an as-needed basis to address demand for access to the case more efficiently.
Is the Judiciary considering charging those who don't e-file, a charge for not using the system?
How will the system work with the Public Information Act if someone wants to see an electronic record/case?
In general, records will be available online; however, availability and access to these records will be subject to security and privacy considerations.
Will the paging/notification system relieve the Court of notifying attorneys of their need to respond to a motion? Will the Court act as the tickler?
The system will have the ability to send out automated notifications. The manner in which this is deployed is not yet determined.
Will the data be subject to user fees?
User fees have been determined. Who may be charged and what (or if) they will be charged has yet to be determined.
How do you foresee a paper summons being served on a defendant? Would a sheriff still serve?
A sheriff will still serve where required by law, most likely in paper. The manner in which those summonses are delivered to the sheriff may vary based upon the capabilities of that particular sheriff. Some sheriffs may have the capability to receive summonses electronically and print them prior to service. Others may not have this capability, and will require that paper summonses be sent to them.
For those individuals in small firms, or solo practitioners, the e-filing system may be cost prohibitive. How might they be affected by this system? Also if an individual is not tech-savvy or does not have an opportunity to e-file, how might this system affect them?
It is anticipated that e-filing will require only word processing and basic internet computing skills. The computing hardware necessary to perform these tasks can be acquired relatively inexpensively, and free options exist for word processing and internet browsing software. The Judiciary will provide training for attorneys on use of the e-filing system.
What is Electronic Content Management?
Electronic content management is software that stores and manages all electronic “things” associated with a case – documents, digital audio, video, pictures, etc. and links them to a case for access.
What is the timeframe for the project?
The time to implement the project fully is dependent on a continuous and sufficient funding stream, as well as the acquisition of the necessary technical resources.
Will the systems between the Courts talk to each other?
The goal of this project is to provide a single solution for Appellate, Circuit and District Courts that will facilitate eletronic communications of case information between the aforementioned court levels.
Will forms be changed to include email addresses for each party?
The system will include email address as part of a party record. There is a forms and reports initiative underway to review, update, and standardize (to the greatest degree possible) forms in use by the courts. This initiative will determine those forms that should include email information. Subsequent analysis will be required to establish a Judiciary policy permitting email as an acceptable form of notification and correspondence.
What type of access will be available for criminal records?
Access will be based on a number of factors: applicable Maryland Rules; present availability of electronic case information to the public; any agreements reached between the Judiciary and its criminal justice partners; identity or role of the entity making the inquiry (case party, attorney, general public, etc.) as determined by authentication and authorization rules.
Will transcripts still be available for appeals? Will transcripts and recordings be part of the Case Management System?
Transcripts will still be available for appeals. Transcripts and recordings will most likely remain with the various recording systems that are in use by the courts today.
Will transcripts be electronic as well?
Yes, as will some evidence.
Right now, if someone wants to review a case from two years ago, it would take the clerk a long period of time (days or weeks) to retrieve the record. Will the record be available electronically in the new system and even though the record would be aged, might the opportunity exist to pull it electronically?
It is unlikely that old case files will be scanned due to the relatively low demand for such cases and the cost associated with scanning and indexing all closed cases. However, a record requested for review may be retrieved, scanned, and made available electronically.
Will the system allow a defense attorney to electronically notify the State’s Attorney of a filing?
How would an attorney sign a motion?
A properly authenticated user will be able to apply a digital signature to a submitted filing.
How does the private processor receive the service document? Will it be in a paper format? What about the pro se party?
With paper on demand, the service document may be transmitted electronically, or printed and delivered manually. This process has yet to be determined. The technology will have the capacity to perform either or both; the method of delivery will likely be dictated by the capability of the recipient.
In the tickler system, will there be a tracking system that schedules deadlines? Will fields be established that would automatically feed and upload into an attorney’s case management system?
The system will have the capability to track deadlines for certain events and raise alerts to users based upon rules for those events. Calendar information will be available as a standard interface; the ability to retrieve this information and update an attorney’s case management system will be contingent upon the capabilities of the attorney CMS.
What are the incentives for the State’s Attorneys to subscribe to this technology/CMS (particularly for purposes of service and filing)?
Operationally, the e-filing capabilities lower filing and service costs to attorneys using e-filing while effectively extending the operating hours of the courts.
Is the Judiciary interfacing with the various Sheriff’s offices?
Several local courts currently exchange information with sheriff’s offices. The Judiciary plans to keep those exchanges active from Day 1, as well as develop capabilities that will allow other sheriff’s offices to retrieve data from the Judiciary as those sheriff’s offices build the capability to capture and manage that data.
Who is overseeing the project?
The project is being overseen by Chief Judge Bell and the Judiciary's Technology Oversight Board. From a tactical perspective, the project is being managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Has a feasibility study been completed or are you in design mode?
The Judiciary completed an assessment of its capability to deliver the MDEC vision, as well as a study of peer states and market offerings. We are currently in the process of assembling requirements and other materials necessary to issue a request for proposals.
How does Quest Juvenile system in Baltimore City tie in with the changes (since Juvenile Justice ties in with many of the stakeholders)?
Quest will be replaced. The Judiciary intends to keep all stakeholder interfaces intact from the first day of MDEC operations in each jurisdiction. Ultimately, stakeholder interfaces will be shifted to a standard protocol with the assistance of the Judiciary.
Do you ultimately contemplate pushing and/or pulling data from other agencies or stakeholders?
How does the Advisory Committee envision exhibits marked for trial to be included in e-filing?
Those exhibits that are simple documents may be scanned and attached to the case file electronically. Exhibits whose physical presence has intrinsic value will most likely be noted in the electronic case file and managed as a physical item, in the same manner as they are managed today.
What are the legacy systems?
There are a number of systems that make up the “legacy system”, and these systems have performed well over time, some for over 30 years. The technologies that these applications rely on do not operate on current generation hardware and operating systems, limiting the ability to maintain and update the underlying systems and the applications themselves. Also, there is a question whether the older operating system and database management system can index and manage materially more court records. Roughly 2 dozen applications that comprise the legacy environment were not designed to interoperate. Finally, many of the staff who have maintained these systems are retiring representing the loss of the knowledge base and skills to maintain these antiquated systems.
If eFiling is optional, rules will need to be created to accommodate both the paper and electronic option. Will we always need to have this level of duality?
The ultimate vision for the MDEC system is a fully electronic environment. The manner in which this process is facilitated may vary over time. Ultimately, given the tremendously varied demographics of the Judiciary’s customers, it is likely that the Courts will always retain some means of accepting paper. In the long-term, this capability will be scaled back as paper becomes less prevalent.
How are you planning to deal with redacting and confidentiality?
The system will be required to conform to the present statutes and rules associated with confidentiality of certain information and certain court records.
Is there any discussion about the retention scheduling of the records? Where will you begin with the records?
Ensuring proper retention, archiving, and disposition of records is a critical concern. The Judiciary has been working with the State Archives to ensure that proper retention of records is addressed with the system.
Will the case management system include problem-solving courts?
Yes. MDEC will support the operations of problem-solving courts.