Court Technology Conference: Seeing the New Tech Tools that Could Disrupt Courts

Topics: Access to Justice, Artificial Intelligence, Automated Contracts, Case Management, Client Relations, State Courthouses

digital transformation

SALT LAKE CITY — In many industries, disruptive technologies have created expectations for digital services everywhere and nowhere, which is the case in many tribunals. Courts face users who employ consumer and enterprise technologies and need to adopt disruptive technologies to stay relevant and provide digital services found in other government agencies and the private sector.

What are disruptive technologies? For courts, it can be any technology not used today. With almost 90 exhibits at the Court Technology Conference 2017 (CTC 2017), attendees had the opportunity to explore a wide variety of technology to disrupt any court, and possibly re-examine their long-standing technology and service providers.

When I looked at the real estate on the exhibit floor, I noticed who had it and who didn’t. Case management systems from the likes of Thomson Reuters and Tyler Technologies comprised the most real estate in the Salt Palace. I was surprised to see the paucity of security and artificial intelligence (AI) offerings.

Thomson Reuters demonstrated its Drafting Assistant tools to review and draft legal documents using preformatted templates and the web-based C-Track Court Case Management system. Thomson Reuters emphasized C-Track’s ability to integrate with qualified justice partners and other systems, such as cFive Solutions, Courthouse Technologies, File & ServeXpress, Justice AV Solutions (JAVS), and nCourt, to expand court capabilities and share case information using C-Track APIs. C-Track’s core case management system (CMS) capabilities include case and calendar management, docketing, entity management, security and access-level restrictions, and a rules engine to align court functions. C-Track add-on solutions include e-filing, public access, and a document management module.

With almost 90 exhibits at the Court Technology Conference 2017, attendees had the opportunity to explore a wide variety of technology to disrupt any court, and possibly re-examine their long-standing technology and service providers.

In the few court security and AI offerings, Yondr exhibited its ability to address cellphone and smartphone security risks, such as users taking surreptitious photos and videos that can be used to intimidate witnesses, and jurors and empaneled jurors using smartphones to research the case during deliberation or sequestration. Yondr makes form-fitting, lockable pouches for phones. Users entering the courtroom put their phones in a Yondr pouch, which is locked while they stay in court. When users leave, bags are unlocked at designated unlocking stations and retained for reuse. Yondr secures phones without the need for courts to confiscate or store phones. Users keep their phones, but they are not accessible until removed from the pouch.

In the AI category, Apopka, Florida-based Computing Systems Innovations stood out with its Intellidact application suite and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technology. Intellidact RPA records how users navigate applications, make decisions and perform data entry to automatically perform these tasks on new documents using supervised and continuous active machine learning techniques.

Courtroom Technology

Netmaster Solutions Ltd, (known as CaseLines) journeyed from London to kick off its new North America Digital Court Service and demonstrate its on-demand remote conferencing product. In England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service won the “2017 Going Paperless Project of the Year” for conducting more than 10,000 criminal cases per month and managing more than 45 million pages of evidence using CaseLines. The company offers cloud-based digital repositories and mechanisms to share e-discovery evidence, records, and exhibits from Tier 1 datacenters. CaseLines recently introduced one-click video streaming and demonstrated on-demand video conferencing at CTC 2017.

Vancouver-based Courthouse Technologies was one of a handful of jury management system (JMS) manufacturers at CTC 2017, with their suite of JMS applications, called Courthouse JMS, using an N-tier Web architecture and are entirely built on a Microsoft .NET Framework. Courthouse JMS has low-code configuration for courts to customize the Web software, which includes features to send summonses (SummonsDirect) and send and receive juror qualification questionnaires (eResponse). JMS provides self-service telephone functions for juror information (IVR) and employs JMS Mobile devices, called Courthouse Tablets, to check-in and attend to jurors. Courthouse JMS is deployed on-premises or in a private cloud via Courthouse Cloud.

Other notable exhibits included:

  •        JAVS exhibited its digital courtroom recording system, with custom-built kiosks to integrate digital and physical evidence and media presentations with digital recorders. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company’s JAVS Core Line offers portable audio recording for administrative hearing sites, boardroom meetings, and depositions. Like other digital court reporters, JAVS can augment human court reporters or replace them, but the digital audio providers can’t replace court reporters’ real-time transcripts to parties in judicial proceedings.
  •        In the e-filing/service category, File & ServeXpress appeared as large as its home state of Texas. According to the electronic filing company, it provides electronic filing and services to approximately 1,300 courts, has a repository of about 42 million documents, and more than 190,000 users. File & ServeXpress simplifies litigation workflow by providing e-filing to courts, process service, secure document exchange for the court and parties, and alerts and notifications for judicial proceedings and court users.
  •        In the Jail and Correction Software category, Capita Technologies’ rebranding to cFive appeared complete after renaming its flagship product cFive Supervisor. In March, the Laguna Hills, California-based company released cFive Catalyst, a community supervision and rehabilitation platform that combines monitoring management with a client-facing mobile app that allows agencies to gather data from smartphones and quickly engage client populations to lower violations and reduce case management workloads.