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SERVING AMERICA’S COURTS AND THE PROFESSIONALS THAT RUN THEM
April/May 2014 Vol. 12 No. 2
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
Courts Today 69 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755
Case Management Systems: Solving Courts’ Challenges
New Digital A/V Services
NA D 2 0 Tra th A CP ini n & V ng Co nual et C nfe Ma ourt rence Ana y 28- Con hei 31 m, CA
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Publisher & Executive Editor Thomas S. Kapinos Assistant Publisher Jennifer Kapinos
A P R I L / M AY 2 014 VOLU M E 12 N U M B E R 2
Editor Donna Rogers Contributing Editors Michael Grohs, Bill Schiffner G.F. Guercio, Kelly Mason Art Director Jamie Stroud
DE PARTM E NTS
6 Courts in the Media 34 Ad Index
F EATU R E S
6 Case Management Systems Solving Courts’ Challenges
16 From Map to App: Interactive Court Floorplans... On Your Phone
Marketing Representatives Bonnie Dodson (828) 479-7472 Ben Skidmore (972) 587-9064 Art Sylvie (480) 816-3448
18 Online Auctions Raise Revenues
20 Ignition Interlock Devices Keeping the Roads Safer
24 Drug Courts: 25 Years Later NADCP Conference, Plus Testing Technologies
30 New Digital A/V Services
Peggy Virgadamo (718) 456-7329
is published bi-monthly by: Criminal Justice Media, Inc 116 South Catalina Ave. • #116 Redondo Beach, CA 90277 310.374.2700 Send address changes to: COURTS TODAY 69 Lyme Road Hanover, NH 03755 or fax (603) 643-6551 To receive a FREE subscription to COURTS TODAY submit, on court letterhead, your request with qualifying title; date, sign and mail to COURTS TODAY 69 Lyme Road Hanover, NH 03755 or you may fax your subscription request to (603) 643-6551 Subscriptions: Annual subscriptions for non-qualified personnel, United States only, is $60.00. Single copy or back issues-$10.00 All Canada and Foreign subscriptions are $90.00 per year. Printed in the United States of America, Copyright © 2014 Criminal Justice Media, Inc.
On the cover: Image of courthouse floor map courtesy of Infax, Inc.
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CO U RT S I N T H E M E D I A ACLU SAYS MORE THAN 40K CONVICTED WITH EVIDENCE IN QUESTION IN MASS. LAB In January the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the national ACLU, together with Foley Hoag LLP, petitioned the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court—that state’s highest court—to bring justice to tens of thousands of people whose criminal convictions rested on the work of a chemist who has been convicted of egregious misconduct. According to a state report, this chemist worked on the cases of 40,323 people. The misconduct occurred at the Hinton State Laboratory, where chemist Annie Dookhan deliberately invented test results, by tampering with evidence so that it would test positive for illegal drugs and by falsely claiming to have tested samples when, in fact, she did no such testing. By January, lawyers had been assigned to only 8,700 of those who may have been convicted based on this misconduct. Matthew R. Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Mass., commented: "In November Annie Dookhan pleaded guilty in a Massachusetts court. It’s time to give her victims their due process. Without intervention from the Commonwealth’s highest court, we have little hope of clearing the records of the people she hurt." As it stands, the defendants in the Dookhan cases bear
the responsibility for rectifying her wrongs; they must ascertain that the Hinton lab tested their samples and then, one by one, bring their cases to the court’s attention. In its petition to the Supreme Judicial Court, the ACLU asked that this burden be shifted to the prosecutors who used the lab. In the shift of responsibility to the prosecutors, the petition asks that the prosecutors be given 90 days to notify their defendants whose convictions involved Dookhan testing and tell those defendants whether they intend to re-prosecute their cases. If the prosecutor’s notice isn’t received within 90 days, then that conviction would be overturned for good. In March the Mass. Inspector General released a report on the Lab. Segal said in response: "The IG report finds that Annie Dookhan was the Hinton Lab's sole intentional "bad actor,” but it also finds that the Lab and Department of Public Health were riddled with negligent actors. It is now impossible for anyone to claim, with any seriousness, that they know which Hinton Lab defendants, if any, got due process when they were convicted. "We can either implement a comprehensive resolution of these cases, or else we can spend many years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to unscramble these broken eggs. The Commonwealth should accept that re-prosecuting 43,000 or more people convicted with tainted evidence is a waste of resources that does nothing to enhance public safety. "Going forward....instead of merely trying to keep labs from making huge mistakes—which is impossible—we should limit the power that chemists and prosecutors wield over convictions and sentencing. “One way to limit the power of chemists and prosecutors is to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences… It's time to scrap mandatory minimum sentences and to give discretion back to judges who are in the position to administer true justice to all." On March 5, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled government misconduct must be presumed in Dookhan drug-lab cases. The ACLU again urged a resolution that shifts the burden of ascertaining which convictions must be vacated from defendants to prosecutors. Said Segal: "Today's rulings are an enormous and welcome step toward a comprehensive resolution of the drug lab cases. The Court ruled that egregious government misconduct will be conclusively presumed, rather than litigated on a case-by-case basis, whenever Annie Dookhan served as a chemist. "We hope the Court will next require prosecutors, rather than defendants, to bear the burden of ascertaining which convictions will have to be vacated in light of today’s rulings. We look forward to addressing that issue...in our petition that is now pending with the Court."
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BY G.F. GUERCIO, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
s courts utilize technology to improve functionality, they focus on the process of adopting or integrating a case management system (CMS). Whether it is installing technology for the first time to tread the road of resistance and implementation, or restarting a wider unified approach for those jurisdictions where different courts adopted different technologies, they face the same challenge of ridding courts of fractured processes and incompatible solutions. Courts are challenged to implement a unified CMS that includes
Court Clerk Lite from Syscon, Inc., provides numerous case management features to streamline court operations.
Whether courts are transitioning away from a legacy system or jettisoning varied systems across the jurisdiction to restart a unified approach, CMS brings order to the courtroom. improvements in collection of fines and fees, overcoming inconsistencies in code standardization—and probably most importantly—providing increased access to justice. “A common catalyst for considering a new case management system is a desire by the court to move to the next level of efficiency and effectiveness,” says Michael Kleiman,
director of marketing for Tyler Technologies, Inc., Courts & Justice Division. “We find courts begin to think about making a change if its existing system is just getting the job done but not streamlining processes, leveraging the latest technologies—mobile, touch, web—or providing a path to eliminate paper.” Creating workflows that support
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In ConjunCtIon These companies integrate with CMS to deliver a gamut of options. Self-Service Check-In/Fine Payment Phoenix Kiosk manufactures self-service kiosk hardware and software that allow courts and other government entities to redirect labor currently used for remedial tasks like check-in and fine payment to other more important tasks through the use of self-service kiosk solutions. Phoenix is the only company in the industry offering online fulfillment of consumables and cleaning/maintenance supplies via an online portal, and an active user forum for support, product sales and industry information.
Real-Time Judicial Interface The in-court judicial interface that connects to any case or document management system is aiSmartBench from Mentis Technology. The judge can securely perform high-speed, full-text searches within a particular document or across all documents for a case while in the courtroom, in chambers, at home, or on the road. The design allows the court clerk and judicial assistant to work in tandem with the judge— automating the capture of in-courtroom data, the generation of court orders and the automatic filing and routing of electronically-signed orders. It adapts to the way each judge runs the courtroom without custom programming and connects the judge, through a single interface, to case and calendaring information.
Information Dissemination Infax offers solutions that interface with the court’s existing CMS, specializing in digital docket displays that integrate data from it. DocketCall pulls case information to electronically display on monitors located throughout the courthouse. The software is fully configurable, and case information can be filtered to lobbies, elevators, and individual courtroom displays. DocketCall’s solution gives court personnel the ability to provide up-to-date case information electronically throughout the facility allowing patrons easy access to information such as name, courtroom, case number, time, and presiding judge. For more information on CMS integrators: Phoenix Kiosk, www.phoenixkiosk.com, 877.335.4675; Mentis Technology, LLC, www.aiSmartBench.com, 303.756.4564; Infax, Inc., www.CourtSight.com, 770.209.9925.
the business processes of the court and of each individual user is critical to driving court efficiencies, he continues. “Tyler’s court products, Odyssey and Incode, have been enhanced over the past several years with new workflow and task management capabilities that allow users to customize the way Tyler’s software works to fit the way the end-user operates.” Working alongside courts for 25 years as they evaluate and implement new case management solutions, Sue Humphreys, CourtView Justice Solutions (CJS)’ director of Industry Solutions, says new technology will always inspire new CMS capabilities since courts are now looking closer at how case management systems add value. “Courts expect a CMS to have all the components and widgets they need to move their cases from beginning to end. Things like eFiling, data sharing, flexible calenThe ability to reledaring, ad hoc gate tasks like juror reporting—these check-in with cms are all considered integrator Phoenix standard CMS Kiosk enables court capabilities now. staff to redirect So the courts have their workload. challenged suppliers to really differentiate through more thoughtful, intuitive, configurable design that automates process.” CJS’ new JWorks is powered by intelligent business rules and a dynamic caseflow management (DCM) engine, says Humphreys. JWorks provides an ‘if, then, else’ logic that automates the step, task, decision point, and deadline of clerk and court operations, she iterates.
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When courts focus on improvements inherent with CMS implementation, it redirects the focus of cost constraints, according to Robert Wilson, president of Syscon, Inc. “Currently the primary obstacle to courts implementing a case management system are the financial challenges faced by many cities and counties. However, if one considers the staff time saved by a system, the improvement in collections of fines and fees due to automation, and better—and fairer—decisions by the court due to more accurate and timely information, oftentimes a system can be justified in spite of budget constraints.” Case management options offered by Syscon include the Enterprise version of Court Clerk and Court Clerk Lite, an entry-level version. Court Clerk provides
numerous case management features to streamline court operations including flexible interfaces to outside agencies, biometric user authentication, automated calls, integrated online payments and customized processing. Other than financial, the chaos of change forms another roadblock and the hesitation towards automation goes a step further when complexity is perceived. “Many courts are afraid of solutions that are flexible,” observes Scott Bade, president, ImageSoft, Inc. “They view these solutions as risky or overly complex. The key is to have a configurable solution that does not require custom programming.” ImageSoft offers a configurable CMS that is a module within the OnBase Enterprise Content Management (ECM) product. “With
OnBase you start with a clean slate, and quickly build the data model and user screens to meet the specific needs of the court. The OnBase ECM system provides configurable workflow technology that provides a mechanism to automate processes and routing without custom programming.” Says Bade, “Configurable workflow improves a CMS by offering a mechanism to provide flexibility that is difficult to build into a CMS.” Court mechanisms are one reason courts are hesitant to purchase and/or update CMS, acknowledges Jackie Black, marketer, Courts, State and Local, Thomson Reuters. “Courts for many years have operated in a closed fashion without much collaboration across the nation. Change is never an easy task, and when it comes to how people oper-
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Incode’s Case Management Center by Tyler Technologies, Inc., creates workflows that support the processes of the court and user.
ate in a closed environment, it can be even more difficult,” she says. For their way of dealing with these obstacles, Black says Thomson Reuters forms partnerships where current customers demonstrate the capabilities of CTrack and alleviate new customer concerns and reluctance for change. “We have been able to show our client how a modern CMS system will not only improve case processing times by bringing about efficiencies in the court’s operations, but also decrease costs in others areas.” And, Thomson Reuters continuously upgrades customers’ installed environments on a regular basis under maintenance and support agreements to prevent “stagnant technology and eliminate the need for complete system overhaul every few years.” Complete system coverage is New Dawn Technologies’ approach as it and related companies serve courts, prosecutors, defenders, probation and pretrial and diversion entities in the U.S. and internationally. Explains Jacoba Poppleton, marketing and communications specialist: “As a part of the Daily Journal portfolio, sister companies Sustain Technologies and ISD Corporation join forces with New Dawn Technologies to build on our combined successes as case management
software solutions innovators.” All three companies offer integrated case management software solutions, including cloud-based data storage, document automation, report generation, online payments, public access solutions, and more. New Dawn’s JustWare | Court is configurable to meet the needs of all roles within the court, including judges, court clerks, and cashiers. Its
know that each court has different business processes, and many times those processes are in a state of constant change,” says Keith Robinson, product manager, Parking & Justice Solutions, Xerox Government Systems, LLC. To help fluctuating constituent requirements and changing legislation Xerox introduced AgileCourt, a business-rule driven system that takes automatic action based upon data conditions. For example, AgileCourt can be configured to create documents automatically as data is entered into the system. To this end, Xerox works closely with justice partners to design systems that simplify court processes. Noting that funding for any project or new system can be challenging for courts today, Robinson says Xerox can mitigate the funding problems by offering flexible procurement options including subscription or per-seat based licensing with the solution deployed in the
Tyler Technologies, Inc.’s Incode software offers Flexible Courtroom and Trial Docketing to increase court efficiency and effectiveness.
configurability, security rules, scalability, and extensive functionality make it a solution for all case types in a single court, or for all case types in all courts in an entire state, according to Poppleton. Multiple case types and changing needs require adaptability. “We all
court’s environment or in a hosted environment. A functionality-rich, person-centric environment is integral to AMCAD’s CMS solution, says Gary L. Egner, chief marketing officer. AMCAD’s integrated Case Management System (AiCMS) solu-
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tion includes case and judicial management modules and a financial module that support the process of the courts. The solution is integrated with AMCAD’s Enterprise Content Management system to provide seamless access to documents and full integration with e-commerce, efiling and e-citation systems reducing the staff need to re-enter data. AiCMS can be tailored to meet unique needs with Added Value Tables (AVT), a configurable environment that allows new codes to meet the needs of the office without custom programming changes. Duplicate data entry is virtually eliminated by the person management function that is a core part of the AiCMS system. The system maintains extensive person identification data in the form of biometric identifiers and traditional person descriptors. This corrects data entry errors and cleans up converted records looking for multiple entries. All the CMS options available point to the attributes that highlight future specification expectations. Courts are looking to the Internet to bring more self-service options to defendants, says Kleiman of Tyler Tech. In addition to basic citation payment, they are looking to add functionality such as image and document uploads, partial payment options and payment plan functionality. “Arlington Municipal Court, an Incode user, has implemented these features and today half of all transactions are happening online, dramatically reducing foot traffic in
Xerox Government Systems’ AgileCourt workflow depicted is a business-rule driven system.
their courtroom. Courts are also turning to technology such as automated defendant notification to increase collection rates.” He continues, “Another Incode user, Grand Prairie Municipal Court, is collecting 32 percent of previously unpaid citations after employing a series of phone calls automatically generated by the Incode software.” Courts across the nation are moving toward an increase in electronic filing capabilities, which essentially create a paperless courtroom, agrees Black of Thomson Reuters. “Court systems have to be more adaptable to changing workflows and processes, and need the ability to share information with
external judicial partners as well as the public.” Transactions involving the court, such as fines and fee payments, are moving to online services, “and there is an increase in Pro Se litigants, and the courts are going to have to figure out better and more efficient ways to handle those cases.” Rounding up the court CMS future view, CJS’s Humphreys says, “They’re looking beyond the standard features checklist for systems that actually help solve their challenges rather than simply automating them, and they’re looking for solutions that will still be strong another decade or two from now.”
“Grand Prairie Municipal Court is collecting 32 percent of previously unpaid citations after employing a series of phone calls automatically generated by software.” —Michael Kleiman April/May 2014 12
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In PraCtICe: 4 CaSe StudIeS #1 State of Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts: AMCAD Case Study The Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) was facing the challenges of disparate court case management technologies, rapidly growing caseloads, and lack of code table and business process standardization across multiple jurisdictions. Insufficient standardization made it difficult to aggregate accurate filing and disposition statistics and hindered data exchanges with external agencies. Moreover, in many instances, Arizona courts turned to various extraneous applications to mitigate shortcomings of their legacy system, leading to inefficiencies caused by redundant work and additional data entry. Arizona AOC installed the AMCAD integrated Case Management System (AiCMS) utilizing Microsoft .Net technology. In order to maximize the acceptance and participation of the Superior Court management and staff a project of assimilation was led by Carla Tack, Arizona AOC project manager for the CMS. “The AOC, based on past experience of new software deployments, knew how critical it was for buy-in by the user courts,” says Renny Rapier, the Arizona AOC program manager. “Carla Tack detailed a plan for assimilation for the pilot courts that has been relevant to all of the courts implemented thus far…successfully implementing the AiCMS system into courts entrenched in the legacy application.”
#2 Wyoming State Courts: LT Court Tech/Thomson Reuters Case Study Wyoming implemented a statewide unified court CMS through LT Court Tech, a business of Thomson Reuters. At the outset, six courts used one system, two used completely other systems, and the remaining 15 counties used a CMS provided by the Wyoming Supreme Court. The disparate systems and limited functionality created inconveniences across
the entire court system. Initially, just the Supreme Court contracted with LT Court Tech for its C-Track system, according to Ann Lavery, clerk of District Court, Uinta County, Wy., and senior business analyst for LT Court Tech. She says C-Track was implemented because it was configurable to the specific needs of the court, allowed unlimited integrations, and staff could be involved with the design process. As the implementation neared completion, the need for a unified system with e-filing functionality became obvious when the District Courts were unable to forward digital records for appealed cases. Thus the District Court CMS contract was awarded to LT Court Tech, based on the success of the Supreme Court’s C-Track CMS implementation. “In Wyoming, there have been a multitude of benefits, many more than had been originally envisioned,” says Lavery. Most of the benefits fall into one of two categories she says: increased access to justice and increased efficiency for the court.
#3 College Park Municipal Court: Syscon Case Study “When I came to College Park, they were doing 2,000 tickets a month with a manual system,” said Chief Judge Monica Ewing. “They had a skeletal staff. I immediately recognized that, to improve court efficiency, we had to switch to an electronic system.” As Ewing evaluated various court systems, the number of tickets escalated, reaching 2,800 to 3,000 a month. She had seen Syscon in action in Union City, Ga., knew how it worked, and knew it would better meet the clerks’ needs. “Syscon had the system that was far better equipped to manage the volume—and College Park was doing close to double the number of tickets in Union City,” said Ewing. “Syscon was extraordinary in this conversion, because it was complex and it was high volume and the clerks were fighting against it,” she notes. “They probably spent four to six weeks with us, which was extraordinary. Now, when we leave court, we’re done.”
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#4 City of Suwanee Municipal Court: Syscon Case Study When the City of Suwanee Municipal Court in Gwinnett County, considered expanding its document scanning service, the Court Services Administrator challenged the Georgia court to think larger and greener, resulting in a CMS solution that better serves the court, as well as helps preserve the environment. “The City had originally planned to include money in its budget for scanning more paper for the court. However, that would bring me another software; one that wouldn’t integrate with my court software,” said Mariza Abdeljawad, court services administrator. Recognizing the benefits of using one solution to meet all its needs, the Municipal Court installed Syscon Court Clerk software. The court also purchased courtroom access stations, electronic signature pads, biometric fingerprint scanners, and document scanners from Syscon. Instead of carrying files into the court, the judge, clerks, and attorneys view the information on-
screen, and the judge enters his findings directly into the system. “There’s no more post-ticket processing by my clerk,” said Chief Judge Mark Lewis. “Previously, after I processed a case, it still had to be entered into the computer. Now a case is completely processed immediately.” That speed is increasingly important since the court’s volume has grown. Today, without the system, the court would face the cost of printing and managing about 80,000 sheets of paper annually. For more info on CMS providers: ImageSoft, Inc, www.imagesoftinc.com, 888.315.3901; Thomas Reuters,www.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com, 877.923.7800; Tyler Technologies, Inc., www.tylertech.com, 800.646.2633; CourtView Justice Solutions, www.courtview.com, 800.406.4333; Syscon, Inc., www.syscononline.com, 205.758.7000; New Dawn Technologies, www.newdawn.com, 877.587.8927; AMCAD, www.AMCAD.com, 866.793.6505; Xerox Government Systems, LLC, www.services.xerox.com, 859.277.8800.
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BY DONNA ROGERS, EDITOR
Map To App Interactive 3D maps and mobile apps are beginning to take a foothold.
he expectation we have about the way we interact with technology is totally changing. There are ticketing kiosks for movie theaters, train stations, airline boarding passes and even professional sporting events. Not only that, but in recent outings this writer has observed, many ticketholders forego the kiosk entirely with web sites like Fandango and ticketmaster that allow true e-tickets—at the venue the ticket taker simply scans the bar code on a smart phone—and voilà, no more lines or paper! With the prevalence of social media, googling of iPhones, and GPS usage, how you expect those to interact with you has changed rapidly, says Phil Hatton, vice president, justice solutions manager, Parking & Justice Solutions, Xerox Government Systems in Lexington, Ky., a developer of case management systems that integrate with electronic signage. “People are more receptive to it, though courts are behind the times in some ways,” he says, often due to shortfalls in their budgets. “But the expectation is set and people are beginning to accept that expectation.” One of the fears is that staff will be let go, but we are challenging that fear, furthers Hatton. “It’s not a matter of staff reduction—it’s a matter of redeploying staff.” Vacancies are
Infax says the latest signage functionality courts are requesting is for 3D mapping that can deliver directions for patrons—it can either be printed, emailed, or sent by SMS text to their mobile phone.
there, he adds, and offices of state court administrators are looking at ways to redirect staff they have. The benefit of self check-in is that it handles the peaks and valleys
more cost effectively. In the morning when hundreds of jurors are checking in at the same time a kiosk can lighten the load, and there’s no employee standing around in the afternoon with little to do. Infax of Duluth, Ga., is one of the biggest developers of software signage solutions for the courts. Cecily Waters, sales and marketing associate, says courts at present “are looking for additional functionality in their interactive mapping displays, dynamic images that incorporate animation or flash to attract people.” They also want displays that are interactive with touch screens. Many have incorporated commercial grade 55-inch screens, and there have been requests for 65- and 70inch, she notes. On the wayfinding side, Waters furthers, patrons can approach the electronic directory, click on it, expand it to 3D mapping and it can provide directions—be printed, emailed, or sent by SMS text to their mobile phone. They can search for parking near their court destination, especially helpful when everyone’s arriving at same time, she says. And like Fandango users, they can view maps on the court’s web site or—the latest—on a court’s mobile app—before they even step foot in the courthouse.
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Online Auctions Raise Revenues A Q&A with Craig McIntyre (CM} vice president with RealAuction.com and the Courts Today (CT) Staff CT: What are challenges Courts face in regard to conducting live auctions? CM: County government staff spends a large portion of time each day on customer service for a live auction, answering questions and addressing paperwork issues. Live auctions of foreclosed property require weeks to complete, which often leads to a large backlog of properties waiting for auction, and a long delay in receiving that income. Live auctions require that bidders are physically present, preventing the participation of interested parties who are unable to attend in person. In cases of inclement weather, auctions may be postponed and rescheduled, and, in the case of properties located in hard-to-reach locales, often mean a smaller pool of bidders. In some instances this may provide opportunity for collusion—bidders who meet in advance of the auction to divide the properties, keeping the winning bids low. CT: Are there other problems the live auction process causes Courts? CM: Yes, it can cause further delay of revenues. Whereas the live auction process typically does not require bidders to make a deposit before bidding, it may lead to a number of bidders who do not follow through on their purchases and, again, can be open to collusion between bidders.
Michigan’s Wayne County is one of the leading local governments in online property sales in the U.S. For the full story see www.wayne.realforeclose.com.
CT: How can online auctions streamline the process? CM: Because the vendor sets up the online website which guides the bidder through the process, this type of auction greatly reduces the amount of time staff spends on administration and setting up, managing the bidding process and wrapping up post-auction paperwork. In addition to dramatic administrative cost savings,
County governments are finding that online auctions for property foreclosure, tax liens and tax deed sales are drastically boosting Court income.
weather does not prevent bidders from participating. Overall, online auctions enable more bidders to participate, which generally leads to more competition and higher winning bids, resulting in additional county revenue. CT: How does RealAuction.com figure in these success stories? CM: As the largest provider of online auction technology for county government, the company’s online auction systems have processed the sale of more than 600,000 foreclosed properties and millions of tax liens. The firm
“The RealAuction platform has facilitated over 20,000 property sales in 2013, with the county amassing an additional $10M in revenue year-over-year as a result.” —Raymond Wojtowicz, Wayne County Treasurer, Detroit, Michigan online auctions expedite the auction process from weeks to just a few hours. This enables governments to collect revenues on tax liens and property foreclosure sales more quickly. Online auctions also eliminate other costs, such as the need to rent facilities and the need to hire security. In addition, inclement
has been part of success stories in almost 100 counties in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Nebraska. One of the largest sales in the United States is Wayne County (Detroit) which reports it amassed an additional $10 million in 2013 in year-over-year revenue.
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B Y B I L L S C H I F F N E R , C O N T R I B U T I N G E D I T OR
Ignition Interlock Devices, Image courtesy of alcohol DetectIon systems Inc.
Helping Keep the Roads Safe
Courts have better detection tools at their disposal.
alcohol and drug-related accidents is a national priority. Technological advancements have made an impact in many industries and the area of drug and alcohol testing is no exception. Ignition interlock devices have been proven to dramatically reduce the rates of repeat DUI offenses. These devices are updated frequently with new features to help prevent new methods of circumnavigation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ignition interlocks are effective in saving lives and reducing drunk driving repeat offenses by 67 percent. “First-time” offenders are rarely first-time drunk drivers,” MADD’s statement notes. “Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DUII offender
has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.” Specifically, all offender interlock laws, when implemented correctly, are found to reduce repeat offenses significantly. In addition, MADD reports that states requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock—including Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana—have cut DUI deaths by over 30 percent. Since implementation of the interlocks law in 2008, Oregon, in particular, has seen a decline in drunk driving deaths of 42.7 percent, twice the national decline. “The ignition interlock system is a cost-effective program to ensure individuals do not drive while under the influence of alcohol,” states Nic Vodicka, Smart Start Inc., Grapevine, Texas. “Ignition Interlocks continu-
ously monitor the offender while they continue to drive, SAFELY. Simply put, ignition interlocks save lives.” Here’s a look at some of the latest interlock systems and other testing devices on the market that are helping aid drug courts and keeping the roadways safer:
Detachable Handheld Unit The Brac Audit Lock-1 has easy to read, easy to use functionality with a detachable handheld unit resulting in quicker service time for a customer. Allan Taylor, executive member at Instant Interlock, LLC, says the device offers a number of competitive advantages: its manufactures products to meet individual state requirements, not the one-size-fits-all mentality; dual fuel cell technology that helps insure against false positives
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Image courtesy of alcohol DetectIon systems Inc.
recall for violations are completely configurable and can be tailored for any state. “The LCI automated calibration system utilizes a dry gas standard to obtain the most accurate calibrations possible. Secure data encryption and automated uploads prevent data tampering at the service level,” says Justin Ward, VP Operations. www.lowcostinterlock.com, 1.800.352.4872
and has data storage of over 30,000 images. Temperature and humidity sensors are used to determine human breath. It is also capable of detecting bypasses by the wiring harness or starter. GPS and twoway communications have also been added,” says Nick Doinoff, CEO, BEST Labs Inc. www.bestlabsinc.com, 1.877.237.1541
Portable Systems Both the AlcoAlert Series 3000 and AlcoAlert Series 5000 Ignition Interlock Devices are certified by an independent laboratory to be fully compliant with the NHTSA. Hoyt Isom, president at AlcoAlert says they offer NexGen fuel cell with counter measure proofing. It is Easy-Read Court friendly, and has Camera ID, GPS tracking, report customization and device read-out
On Board Camera System and hassle from unnecessary resets; and recurring automated bill pay system saves time for customers. www.instantinterlock.com, 1.800.957.0036
Tamper-Resistant Device The Alcolock (Series III) Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is accurate and programmable with tamper-resistant vehicle ignition interlock. Features a personal security code that must be entered on the keyboard. Blood alcohol content (BAC) is accurately measured from a 4 second breath sample. Three-place digital display (0.000%-0.200%) shows % of BAC with “Pass” or “Fail” indicator. www.autosenseintl.com, 1.800.325.2657
Customizable Tests for Each State The Low Cost Interlock TAB-720 is designed to meet all federal qualifications for accuracy and performance. Random testing and early
“Our latest unit, the WC900, has a wireless handset and camera with a 2.4-inch true color touch screen display. The camera takes full cockpit pictures during every breath test
control Pass/Fail or BAC options. In addition, they offer 24/7 nationwide service, guaranteed lowest cost and financing with IISCC.com. www.alcoalertinterlock.com, 1-888-NODWUIS
Affordable Alternative The Smart Start IN-HOM unit is an affordable alternative for the offender who does not have a vehicle, yet needs some form of alcohol monitoring. “It is device equipped with a camera, allowing for positive photo identification,” says Smart Start’s Vodicka. “This Smart Start product has an extremely affordable price point versus similar competitor devices. The IN-HOM device has had a very positive effect on drug court programs throughout the nation. From the quick and accurate reporting process, customizable April/May 2014x
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tampering with the unit registers in this data log as well. http://www.stopdwi.com, 1.800.STOP.DWI
testing windows and being more cost effective than other similar devices, the IN-HOM is the ideal device for those who need alcohol monitoring but do not have access to a vehicle,” he explains. www.smartstartinc.com, 1.800.880.3394
Automotive Alcohol Detection System The Determinator from Alcohol Detection Systems is an ignition interlock device that analyzes blood alcohol content and determines if a driver is within a legal limit to get
behind the wheel. The system’s computer records all test and pertinent driving data. This is downloadable and printable. Any attempt at
Debuting this April, the Dräger Interlock 7000 is the culmination of more than seven years of development, notes the firm. Dräger’s newest interlock seamlessly integrates an intelligent camera system and GPS/ GPRS technology, which they report is the first time that a single unit has combined the most recent innovations into one device. Additional features support circumvention prevention and location services to meet specific local law enforcement requirements. www.draeger.com, 1.866.385.5900
Alcohol Monitoring SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) is the most widely used CAM product in the world, notes the company. Extensively peer-reviewed and court validated, SCRAM sets the bar as a proven deterrent to drinking. On any given day, SCRAM CAM generates an average 99.3% Sober Days rate, meaning that 99.3% of all offenders being monitored by the
product are sober and fully compliant with court orders. www.alcoholmonitoring.com, 1.800.557.0861
Web-Based Call System Call2test is a randomized, webbased, call-in system for drug and alcohol testing and probation reporting. It can be configured in less than 60 seconds, is fully automated, and can be used by courts of any size. By utilizing existing Interactive voice response technologies, call2test is able to provide service at a low cost per offender, the company reports. call2test.com, 1.888.972.9166
Automated Breath Alcohol Test MobileBreath is reliable and fast and automates breath testing. With a 30-second enrollee administered BA screen it will detect down to .001 BAC. Results can be emailed or text messaged to an administrator or case manager instantly. MobileBreath technology is the only mobile system that uses face and voice biometrics to validate an enrollee’s identity on each required
test. The system transmits Breath Alcohol level and identity data using cellular technology. www.streetimetechnologies.com, 1.877.727.7764
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24/7 Sobriety Program Intoximeters is highly involved in the 24/7 Sobriety Program, a law enforcement concept that many U.S. states have begun adopting to reduce recidivism associated with drunk driving. It mandates offender sobriety through testing for drugs and alcohol. It allows offenders to remain functioning members of society if they abstain from alcohol and/or drug use. The monitoring techniques are believed to be directly related to the long-term impact on reducing recidivism. www.24x7sober.com, 314.429.4000
Compact Mobile Unit The Guardian AMS 2000 offers a compact design that is slightly larger than a standard cell phone. It offers reliable data logging and
enhanced anti-circumvention detection. Unit also features USB connection capability which allows for effortless downloading of events, without having to connect the base unit in the vehicle. Additionally, participants may call a toll-free number to access technical and service personnel. www.guardianinterlock.com, 1.800.499.0994
Target-tracking Camera System The LifeSafer FC100 Ignition Interlock offers an exclusive patent-pending target-tracking camera system. It offers real-time reporting of violations and vehicle location. Indicator light signals handset-to-camera link, enabling test to begin. It can be separately mounted near the rearview mirror
without obstructing the driverâ€™s view. Other features include programmable test times for costeffective alcohol consumption monitoring. www.lifesafer.com, 1.800.634.3077
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B Y M I C H A E L G R O H S , C O N T R I B U T I N G E D I TOR
Drug Courts: 25 Years Later Since 1994
, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) has worked with governmental agencies at all levels to create, enhance and advocate drug courts. Today they represent over 27,000 justice professionals and community leaders. From May 28 to 31, NADCP will hold its 20th Annual Training Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The event is expected to be huge. It is the largest conference in the world on substance abuse, mental health and the criminal justice system. Christopher Deutsch, director of communications at NADCP, antici-
pates that 4,300 professionals will attend, and that figure might reach as many as 5,000. The event is a particularly special one. For one, this year is the 25th anniversary of drug courts, which first appeared in Miami-Dade in 1989. Since then there has been sufficient data collected to study and determine successes and compile a list of best practices. If one word is used over and over by drug court experts, it is this: evidence. In 2013, NADCP published Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards, Volume I. Volume II will be unveiled at the conference. Drug courts have exploded in use over the past two and a half decades. According to the NADCP,
there are now 2,800 nationwide including vet courts and DUI courts. They are also now international having been adopted by 23 countries, so as strange as may sound, American drug policy is now becoming something the world is trying to emulate. Americans have become weary of the Sisyphean task of trying to incarcerate the problem of addiction away. “What we are seeing,” says Deutsch, “is criminal justice reform spreading across the country in a meaningful way.” More and more governors are adopting drug courts. The courts have “a lot of momentum at the state level.” That momentum is across the board and
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across party lines. Even states with reputations for being tough on crime are getting on board. On April 2, 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry traveled to Lubbock to receive the NADCP’s Governor of the Year Award for his efforts in transforming Texas’s criminal justice system. Texas, under Perry’s leadership, has emerged as a national and international model of reform. At the time
Courts that use RANT have a 30% higher on-time graduation rate. This results in a savings of $4,000 per participant, reduced workload for the court and more effective and efficient rehabilitation.
of his inauguration, Texas had a mere seven drug courts. Currently there are 136 as well as 15 veteran treatment courts. The tactics he has implemented have all been evidence based, and since doing so has saved the state $2 billion in new prison spending, led to the closing of several prisons, reduced parole violations, and lowered the crime rate to all time lows. West Huddleston, CEO of NADCP said of Perry: “Governor Perry has transformed how the Texas criminal justice system responds to people who need rehabilitation, and the rest of the nation is taking notice." Deutsch predicts that drug courts will soon play more in politics and even suggests that a politician might soon run on a platform of criminal justice reform. People, he says, don’t want to keep paying for incarceration. They want their loved ones to get well. It’s no secret that drug courts work. Says Deutsch, “You can’t look at the research out there and say they don’t work.” Now that they have had 25 years to study the success rates, the numbers have proven that the courts are successful in almost every area. According to the NADCP, drug courts refer more people to treatment than any other system in the country. Of those who complete drug court, 75% are never arrested again. For each individual they serve, drug courts save $13,000. Dr. David April/May 2014x WWW.COURTSTODAY.COM
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Festinger, senior scientist and director of law and ethics and the Treatment Research Institute (TRI), a Philadelphia-based institute that translates research into improved policies regarding substance abuse, states that drug courts reduce recidivism, improve health and enable people to live better and more social lives. They help children, families and communities and allow people to return to their lives with many of their problems solved. He furthers that, “The bottom line is that it saves the bottom line.” For every dollar invested in drug courts, taxpayers save $3.36 in criminal justice costs alone. That figure does not take into account hospitalization, victimization, etc. Factoring in those elements some estimates suggest $27 per $1 spent. TRI has been working with drug courts for about 14 years and is responsible for one of the first randomized control studies of the courts. (Previously it had all been evaluations.) The randomized experimental approach, Festinger says, is the most rigorous and gives the most confidence in its findings. There are controlled studies as well as metaanalyses (the highest level of support for the analysis of a study). The amount of research that has been conducted [Festinger says, “There is now more research in support of drug courts than for perhaps all other treatments for criminally involved substance abusers combined.”], proves drug courts work, but what makes a great drug court great? Says Festinger: It is adhering to good rules of behavior. By that he means that the power of courts lies in large part in their use of proven behavioral strategies. Other aspects of criminal justice are slow. Probation builds to incarceration, trials are not immediate, etc. “Providing swift, certain, fair and meaningful consequences for client behavior is critical for modifying the
The benefit of the instant urine drug testing is that the tester is able to see results within 2-4 minutes of testing.
behavior of individuals who are in great need of help to turn around their lives.” He furthers that what makes a drug court great is passionate participants who truly embrace what they are doing. It is those types of people, he says, who attend the NADCP conferences. Festinger, who will be attending, says, “I gain so much. Every time that I attend NADCP’s conference I return with new ideas, new approaches, and new connections with people around the nation and globe who share the same goals of improving public health and public safety by continuing to improve and
expand drug courts.” TRI will be conducting two workshops regarding recent trends in treatment at the Conference: Visual Performance Feedback in Drug Court: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words and An Accelerated Track for Low Risk/Low Need Offenders. Dr. Festinger and Dr. Karen Dugosh will be presenting the findings of deploying visual performance devices such as graphs and PowerPoint slideshows to illustrate a participant’s success. The latter involves a trend the industry has been seeing, and because of it, drug and DUI courts
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are developing different tracks. Deutsch notes that the most successful outcomes in drug court involve those high risk/high needs and who have a long history of addiction. He furthers that they are traditionally not as effective with those who are not serious addicts. Says Festinger, there has been less attention given to these low risk/low need offenders, and certain considerations need to be taken. Their research has found that they do not require the same intensity as highrisk offenders, and in fact, if they are mixed with high-risk offenders, it could actually be harmful by, among other reasons, exposing them to antisocial people and preventing them from engaging in constructive activities such as school and work. This is most likely in offenders under 25. He emphasizes that high risk offenders should never be mixed with low-risk offenders. The result is always more high-risk offenders and never more low-risk. The Honorable Elisabeth A. Earle, Presiding Judge County Court at Law Seven in Travis County, Texas, will be presenting Alcohol Monitoring: Best Practices for Selecting the Right Tools to Fit Each Client's Risks and Needs at the conference. As the abstract for the presentation says, “one size fits all” for alcohol offenders are unsuccessful, and that the most successful programs are the ones that tailor their program to the needs of the offender. “Lower-risk clients can actually experience negative outcomes when supervision and treatment isn’t proportional to their level of offense. Best-practices for alcohol monitoring programs enable courts to apply graduated sanctions based on a client’s needs and progress.” One way an offender can be determined as being high risk/high needs or low risk/low needs is through TRI’s Risk and Needs Triage (RANT), a highly secure web-
provides evidence-based recommendations of probation and intensity of treatment in about 15 minutes and requires minimal training. The software immediately generates a report and separates offenders into one of four quadrants with “direct implications for suitable correctional dispositions and behavioral health treatment.” It has been adopted by 178 courts in 28 states. The program was a direct result of TRI research.
Veteran’s Courts The other special event at this
American Bio Medica Corporation’s Rapid TOX product line was designed specifically for Drug Courts.
based decision support tool used by drug court judges. Triage, Festinger points out, is just as important in drug courts as in a hospital. They have to preserve valuable research, yet they do not want to over treat people. RANT provides information to the judge about who might need more intensive supervision and what level of treatment is needed. For many first time offenders, a trip to jail or court might serve as a wakeup call and the same intensive treatment an offender with a long history of significant abuse will require will not be needed. RANT
conference is that attendees will, for the first time, be able to attend any sessions at the NADCP conference as well as the 2014 Vet Court Con, which is being held simultaneously, for a single fee. Vet courts, says Deutsch, are modeled on drug courts and continue to be the fastest growing treatment model. Vet con is the only treatment conference dedicated to veteran treatment, and they are also experiencing remarkable growth. The first one was in Buffalo in 2008. There are currently 130 vet courts in 40 states. Combat vets have a high rate of substance abuse. They also might be subject to a trinity of other conditions: post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and pain, all of which can complicate the issue of substance abuse. The danger, says Deutsch, is that veterans will come into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of substance abuse or a mental health condition. The fear is that they will end up on the streets, incarcerated, or worse. “One of the places we can intervene is the courts, and then they can be placed into the treatments and programs they have earned.” Those programs differ than typical drug courts. It is a veteran’s-only docket, and they look not only at addiction but also mental health issues. Each case will also
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The Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test from OraSure Technologies offers laboratory confidence with oral fluid convenience.
have a member of the V.A.—usually from the medical center—present. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, veteran treatment courts have been successful at lowering the recidivism rate to less than 5% in nearly all courts. Naturally, among the most important elements of drug and alcohol courts is testing and monitoring. As Helen Harberts, interim director of the Harris County Probation Department says, “The entire system and the appropriate treatment for people with addictive disorders relies on appropriate drug testing.” Deutsch furthers, “Regular, random testing is so, so important.” Failure in testing can completely undermine the efficacy of the treatment. Kathleen Brown, director of PR & marketing communications at SCRAM says, “NADCP and its members are leaders in evidencebased models that produce real change in the behavior of alcoholaddicted offenders. For the last 10 years we have learned from NADCP, its research and its members, and we are proud supporters of their annual training conference. At this year’s conference, we look forward to bringing together some of the leaders in the field of alcohol management in specialty courts and
sharing some of the newest innovations and best-practices. We know that SCRAM Systems products are just a few of the tools these courts need to effectively manage their alcohol-involved clients, and our goal is to share proven models that specialty courts can use to customize alcohol testing and monitoring options based on the balance of risks and needs for each client in each program.” Confirm BioSciences, a San Diego-based provider of drug tests will be exhibiting at the conference. Zeynep Ilgaz, president of Confirm says, “We actually work with many different drug courts around the country. We have seen them use a lot of our urine drug test dip cards. Once you have the results you can also make a copy of the results so you have proof of it. This is also one of the most cost effective ways of doing drug testing. We oftentimes provide laboratory confirmation services as well when a test does come out positive for the instant urine drug tests. And it is always recommended to do a confirmatory lab testing for positive results.” OraSure Technologies, also exhibiting, will be showing the TruTouch 2500, an optically based, non-invasive sensor that quickly and accurately measures alcohol for
fit for duty compliance while simultaneously verifying user identity using light through the skin. “This new technology allows businesses and criminal justice accounts to test on a frequent enough basis to create a true alcohol deterrence solution,” says Jackie Pirone, director marketing SAT and IR. It will also show its Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test. Oral fluid testing has some key advantages for drug courts and corrections such as that the collection can occur anytime, anywhere and are observed, which creates trust in the process, furthers Pirone. Additionally, gender collector issues are eliminated, and oral fluid testing is virtually adulteration proof, some issues that are ever present with urine testing. It’s also a more accurate method to measure “recent” use, scientifically accurate and legally defensible. Scott Hutton, national sales director at American Bio Medica Corporation says of the evolution of drug courts, "Times have changed, but one thing hasn't: The need for an accurate onsite drug test. He adds, “Our Rapid TOX product line was designed specifically for Drug Courts to assist them in correctly identifying drug using participants, which allows them to make appropriate referrals for treatment with confidence."
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BY DONNA ROGERS, EDITOR
The latest recording features make access to a file a click away and smooth the entire transcription process.
he transcript is the official record of the court in 49 states; there is a greater demand for transcripts and faster turnaround than ever before. For example, in a high-profile case, a trial attorney might like to have the entire transcript of the day’s proceedings by 10 p.m. or even 6 p.m. that evening so they can review the case prior to the next morning’s proceedings. But, at the same time, the number of stenographers is lan-
guishing. Ten years ago, there were about 30,000 stenographic court reporters, today that number is around 14,000, says Eric Lige, of AVTranz, Phoenix. “What’s happening is the stenographic model is disappearing….schools have largely closed, and the numbers getting certified dwindling. Their average age is increasing—there is lots of retirement, and new judges are more comfortable with technology.” That once highly original mode of coding
court happenings, and the very loyal worker to the judge, is giving way for several reasons: newer recording technologies, web transmissions, and more efficient remote workers. Some courts are fearful the technology still isn’t 100 percent reliable, while Lige points out stenographers aren’t 100 percent reliable—two years ago a New York stenographer made the news when he typed repeatedly into the trial dialogue, “I hate my job, I hate my job,” and
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wrecked havoc on some 30 Manhattan cases he worked on. Daniel Kochanski, 43, who claimed alcohol dependency, was fired in March 2012 for misconduct. Sources said the Manhattan DA’s Office later arrested Kochanski and forced him to try to make sense of his shorthand typing. But that effort apparently failed. This April, judges have been holding “reconstruction hearings” at which everyone involved in a case has to testify about what they remember. (New York Post, April 3, 2014). As for problems with equipment not working, this has been largely overcome, adds Lige. In early days redundancy was more important. Today more than one room in the building is equipped, and if you’ve got a problem you simply move to another room, he points out.
It’s not relevant whether stenographers or digital transcriptionists are better, furthers Lige, “what’s relevant is that things are changing.” However, he adds, it’s not that simple: statues vary widely on what is legally permitted in the way of recording. For example, Arizona law states a stenographer must be present in a court proceeding, and California doesn’t permit digital recording. Other states are early adopters and have been evolving to next generations of equipment. New York, Colorado and Connecticut all use digital recording technology. A good example is the state of New Hampshire, which began to migrate to audio recording in the early 1990s, and completed the conversion to all audio recording in 2006, utilizing a group of transcriptionists
that created the official record of trial court proceedings, explains Director Donald D. Goodnow, JD, Administrative Office of the Courts. Then in 2011 the NH AOC issued another RFP asking for proposals to do a web-based system for both digital audio files and completed transcripts. In mid 2012, they launched a web-based system of transcription, called The Court Record Online New Hampshire, or TCRON NH, from AVTranz. The Court uses FTR Limited software and hardware from K + S Electronics. The web-based transcription system from AVTranz works with all the leading vendors’ digital recording systems. The service provider can create a verbatim transcript from digital recordings produced by any vendor including: FTR, Jefferson Audio Video Systems (JAVS),
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managing the process, “we get information back about the transcription process,” says Goodnow. “Underlying our decision to use AVTranz was the conclusion that actually making a record of court proceedings is a core function of courts, thus we make a digital audio record of all court proceedings. By contrast, the transcribing of the audio file to create a typed transcript is not a core function and can be outsourced to a vendor who specializes in that type of work,” he emphasizes. “It not only relieves the Supreme Court staff and Trial Court of chasing around the status of transcripts, but the process is all done electronically, and we get a call in advance stating how many pages it will be. It’s much more efficient.” He furthers that it is part of the court’s responsibility on behalf of those who need transcription services to assure they are getting the best rate possible. We put the entire transcript process out to bid, he notes—which includes obtaining page estimates, making deposits in advance of transcribing, sending the audio file to the transcriber, sending the completed transcript back to the requesting party, and doing the final accounting of funds. “Before,” he continues, “the court set the best rate— but we had no way of testing the market and no way of knowing we were getting the best deal possible.” And because it’s web-based, the transcription service is available 24/7 if an attorney working after hours wants to place an order. It’s simply a good business model. If your court “wants to do commerce, it’s the way people’s needs are met in 2014,” concludes Goodnow. Court.fm, the newest development from FTR, allows near-live audio and video access to the court record anywhere, anytime, streamed directly from the courtroom to any authenticated user with an Internet-enabled device.
CourtSmart, VoiceIQ (VIQ), AudioSoft, High Criteria (Liberty Recorder) VeriCore, NCH Software (MSRS), Lanier Advocate, Sony BM 246 and others. In the past the process of ordering a transcription was a labor-intensive process, Goodnow acknowledges. The steps involved calling the clerks office, securing an estimate, making a series of calls back and forth, until approval was secured and payment was made. Now, he says, we go to a single site, an automatic message comes back requesting a deposit, the deposit is made and a message relays instructions to get started. The process provides benefits in several ways. He says not only are the transcripts returned on time—96% of all transcripts do get delivered on time and 97% of all appeals get delivered on time—but the process can be better monitored. Now that there is a single vendor
The Technologies Prices on audio hardware have come down drastically—Tony Douglass, president of ForTheRecord, states the cost is 20% of the price it was five years ago. The 20year-old company, which recently joined with Court Record Solutions, has its research and development office, FTR Labs, in Brisbane, Australia, and its sales and support team in Phoenix. FTR, which pioneered some of the technology which is the industry standard today, reports it is dedicated to providing digital recording, review and content management solutions for justice, law enforcement and public meetings venues. It is used primarily in courts, and legislatures, government agencies, and parliaments across the world, says Douglass, wherever there are a significant number of different speakers and a multi-channel system is needed. He reports the software, not the hardware, is the crucial piece of the technology today—for its search capabilities, ability to integrate with other systems, such as case management, and the ability to be used with a browser-
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based device. It can also be upgraded much more easily than can changing out the hardware. “A newer development for us—a new approach to court audio and video is a browser-based system,” Douglass says. Called Court.fm, it allows near-live audio and video access made to the court record anywhere, anytime, streamed directly from the courtroom to any authenticated used with an Internet-enabled device. For judges or attorneys, it is a boon—they can access the recording from an iPad or laptop without having the copy of the recording. “They
mitted in real time or within a couple of hours while the proceeding is still in progress. The court reporter can work on it, and if it is large, others can simultaneously work on different parts of it. In the past, a court reporter might be finished early for the day, and couldn’t be assigned another court, though another court might be overwhelmed. “They never got the right number of reporters in a given court,” says Douglass. With a webbased system and the pool of reporters working from home, the work can be allocated wherever there is best utilization of manpower.
jurisdiction cases in the state with 95 trial judges and 59 commissioners assigned to the seven departments, has centralized monitoring for some of its digital recorders. Approximately 178 courtrooms and hearing rooms are equipped with digital recording systems from FTR, some audio/video and some audio alone. At present, court recording monitor staff is stationed in control rooms that have responsibility for 51 of the audio/video courtrooms. In March 2014 ExhibitOne Corporation was awarded a multiyear contract to be the A/V vendor of record for the Superior Court. (Since 1999 the company has been providing integration and support services to the court for a wide range of courtroom A/V technologies including evidence presentation systems, digital recording, sound reinforcement and audio conferencing.) In the centrallylocated monitor space, staff can add annotations or images to the recordings, or get a video feed and see what is happening live in the courtroom on quad view monitors. The bailiff can also start and stop the recording onsite in the courtroom, or the start and stop can be handled remotely.
Bringing It Together Overview image of VIQ courtroom recoding.
do not worry about the recording gone missing,” he says. Many courts are capturing audio in four channels in the courtroom, Douglass notes. Over the years, we’ve seen that moving to eight, while they are also adding some video and annotations—which is useful from a court reporting standpoint. The court reporting process has evolved, and the technology may change up the workflow process to make it more efficient, he continues. With the browser-based system, the encrypted digital recording is trans-
“Everyone gets pieces [of the data] and it keeps work in their queues.” We are seeing a maturity of the capabilities of digital recording; another piece it can manage is centralized monitoring. Five hundred courtrooms can all be monitored from a central location—and the court can assign tech savvy people to consistently control how the court wants to manage those recordings. The Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County, one of the five largest counties in the U.S. and the largest Superior Court in Arizona, handling over 60% of the general
“Rather than having a System A and a System B and a System C, they will be able to talk to each other,” says Jade Coldren, national sales manager with BIS Digital, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale. Founded in 1982, BIS’s primary business is the purchase, sales and service of digital audio and video recording equipment and it provides digital recording technology to over 4,000 customers including over 2,000 courtroom systems, hospitals, as well as Federal, State and Local government agencies. BIS Digital, which does direct sales in 16 states, provides turnkey A/V solutions based upon the specific needs of its users. April/May 2014x
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BIS Digital is a development partner with High Criteria, the Richmond Hill, Ontario-based manufacturer of the Liberty Recording line of audio, video recording solutions; in 2005 High Criteria began manufacturing the Digital Court Recorder (DCR) for BIS. It is based on an open standard so it can connect with a court’s CMS, monitors, mics, evidence presentation system, mobile devices, its video conferencing system and other components. And it ties the entire record together. Any evidence presented in courtroom—surveillance videos, a contract, a photo—“it can be attached just like an email,” points out Coldren. It can be downloaded
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to a computer, and wherever the file goes it becomes part of DCR file. BIS Digital’s latest release is a convenient feature called Remote Client. With it, the Court is “able to send out a link to a remote user, and as long as they have a web connection, mic and web cam, we can bring them in, similar to video conference, embedded directly in to the DCR program,” informs Coldren. If they experience inclement weather—as many were snowed in this past winter—they can be connected, actually become one of the channels, and can see the view from all the cameras, as if they were in the courtroom. It is also ideal for child testimony or any remote testimony.
Video, the Latest Trend Some courts are now expanding into video or at least ensuring their new systems have the capability even if they don’t use it immediately. “There is a huge interest in having multiple channels of video, to document who is speaking without great notes or bookmakers,” says Coldren. While video once took up a great amount of bandwidth, H.264 is highly compressed video and can run on greatly reduced bandwidth. Improvement of network consumption has reduced the amount of bandwidth consumed by synching process,” concurs Malcolm Macallum, CTO, VIQ Solutions, Inc., the maker of the Infinit digital recording product line headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. VIQ Infinit provides the ability to securely control multimedia recording in multiple rooms from any satellite location across the Internet, WAN or LAN. Video files— which are a 100 times larger than audio—make a huge demand on network, he says, yet significant changes have been made and now video can synchronize faster, utilizing less bandwidth. It helps tremendously in remote locations. VIQ has
implemented systems globally including in the U.K. and this past November was awarded a contract by the Australian courts. In Scotland networks are slower, he furthers, thus VIQ had to design the system for use on lower bandwidth, without necessitating the court to build a new infrastructure. Last year VIQ introduced NetScribe Web Transcription Service that allows a court user to capture audio and transfer the audio via secure Internet to be transcribed and retrieved. With NetScribe, multiple transcriptionists can work on separate segments of the same file from one location or from various remote locations. Use of this server-based remote viewer in Australia has been implemented across a wireless network. The method they chose to implement has made their workflow much more efficient, says Macallum.
Into the future Many courts are “far, far behind in outstanding cases,” says Macallum. Today timing and turnaround are so important, and in the next few years, the huge need to reduce costs will drive the adoption of technology. Still, digital audio is not admissible in some states and courts continue to work pen and pencil on paper, he furthers. With technology they can have so many more options than they would have had previously. By “implementing technology they can retask people, turnaround time is faster and they can improve the throughput of their cases.” He adds: “At Rikers Island, for example, it costs $80,000 a day to move inmates. That gives them good cause to look for these solutions.” While state statutes may not yet allow the use of digital audio or video recording devices, he sums up, “Economics is driving the change for legislation to take place.”
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