E-storage keeps order in court's documents

King County District Court in Washington state has archived more than 1.7 million court records using an information infrastructure based on EMC document management products.

The court uses EMC Captiva InputAccel software to scan its documents into an electronic format and then transmit and archive them into the EMC Centera storage system.

'Our document management system is a big time saver for KCDC employees and legal professionals who regularly access court records,' said Andy Gilmer, King County District Court's database administrator. 'Before, people had to travel to the courthouse where the records were stored or the court had to mail files from one location to another. In addition to the time and costs associated with searching for and copying records, occasionally the wrong documents were placed in files.'

The court processes about 230,000 cases each year, ranging from traffic violations and misdemeanors to civil filings that amount to less than $5,000. King County is one of the only district courts that provides public access to electronic court records, and manages a large number of traffic tickets electronically. About 350 people, including court employees, attorneys and probation officers, can access the archives to retrieve court records from any location, EMC said.

The court also uses a booking and referral application based on EMC products. Known as BARS, or eSuperform, the system automates the exchange of information from regional law enforcement agencies with the county when a suspect is booked into a county jail or when a criminal case is referred to the prosecuting attorney's office.

The eSuperform application lets police report probable cause statements to the booking facility using their laptops or a kiosk in the jail and the prosecutor transmits them electronically to the EMC information infrastructure, Gilmer said. 'We've automated the process to the extent that human hands seldom have to touch paper documents and the documents themselves have never existed in paper,' he said. The court has saved 'huge' amounts on time and paper, Gilmer said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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