Minick: California To Privatize Court Docketing Systems; and an Open Source Response?

Courtney Minick has posted California To Privatize Court Docketing Systems, at Onward Justia.

Here are excerpts:

Courthouse News reported this week on the “land grab” in California’s local court systems. When the courts announced last year that they were killing the CCMS (California Case Management System), vendors pounced on the opportunity to provide contracted solutions in its place. […]

Now that CCMS is dead, Courts are turning to the private sector to update their docketing systems, which languished while waiting for the new system. Three bidders have emerged as candidates for the new systems: New Mexico-based Justice Systems Inc., Texas-based Tyler Technologies, and Pennsylvania-based LT-Tech owned by Thomson Reuters (formerly West Publishing). According to Courthouse News, “The deals have three basic financial components, licensing and installation for millions of dollars, yearly upkeep for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, a golden egg, the right to charge lawyers a fee, generally around $5, for every document electronically filed.”

That should scare you. When private companies take over these systems, they naturally try to monetize them – creating what Courthouse News calls the “tollroad” to legal information. As a result, the public access is damaged by “contracts that allow a software provider to control and exploit the public record.” This happened in Texas, when LexisNexis took over the docketing system in Bexar County. And Courthouse News tells of a similar story in Colorado […]

Shortly after Courtney’s post was published, discussion arose (e.g., here, here, and here) among leaders and members of California’s legal hacking and innovation groups about developing free and open source alternatives to proprietary court docketing systems.

If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Amy Wan of Los Angeles Legal Innovation Meetup, or Ansel Halliburton of San Francisco Legal Technology Meetup.

For more details, please see Courtney’s complete post.

HT Justia

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