Members Participating: Hon. Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Chair Hon. Joel Medd, Judge – Northeast Judicial District Hon. Frank Racek, Judge – East Central Judicial District Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of Court - McKenzie County Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court - Grand Forks County Hon. Daniel Narum, Judge – Southeast Judicial District Hon. Doug Mattson, Judge – Northwest Judicial District Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator - Unit 3 Hon. William Herauf, Judge – Southwest Judicial District Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court
Members Absent: Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication
Guests: Chris Iverson, Trial Court Manager - Unit 2 Ronnie Everett, Tyler Technologies Todd Becker, Network Analyst
Staff: Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Cammie Schock, Technology Coordinator
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from August 19, 2011 Meeting
Judge Medd moved to approve the August 19, 2011 meeting minutes. Judge Herauf
seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Odyssey Status Work Completed File & Serve upgrade to version 2.4 Larry Zubke reported that just before we last met we had installed the upgrade to File & Serve
2.4. The upgrade went fairly well and was done over a weekend. He stated it’s a welcome
version as it allows the rejection emails to go to the filers which was a big request. It also gave
us the ability to have a zero dollar fee component for our state justice partners to use. With the
install came some side effects that we have been dealing with. The first issue is financial related.
He said the new system is event driven and it allows the attorney to initiate a new case with a
filing fee. If they file subsequent events, File & Serve also allows them to select the filing fee
multiple times for the same case. He explained that Odyssey is smart enough to know there
should only be one filing fee however, File & Serve allows for multiple filing fees. He further
explained that when the attorney chooses the filing fee multiple times it charges their credit card
and puts it in our bank account but it does not appear in Odyssey, which causes reconciling
issues and requires refunds. We are trying to get the word out to the attorneys to only select the
filing fee once. He also explained the clerks have the ability in the new system to review every
case and take the $80 filing fee off before they accept it. Then the card would not get over-charged and we would not have to give a refund. He stated it is a little more work to have that
feature however that is the way Tyler designed the program.
Larry reported the second issue we are trying to work out is the slowness of the system. We
immediately saw an increase in the amount of time it takes a clerk to accept and move through
multiple documents. Tyler is looking into the issue.
Justice Sandstrom added that at the Tyler conference, Tyler asked where we thought they should
spend their development dollars. The question was should they spend them developing new and
improved features or to make the current product more stable and faster. Larry stated that
everyone from a user prospective voted to make it more stable and faster.
Judge Racek inquired into a process of reporting what percentage of filings are coming through
file and serve. He stated we could look at which areas are not being filed into as much and find
the reason why and do additional training and so forth to make optimum use of the system.
Larry stated he has asked that of a few people and nobody has been able to give him a
technology solution where we could check a log or something along those lines. Ronnie Everett
stated the only thing he could think of was if we took a sampling from some of the counties and
take the accepted filings statistics over a 30 day time period, or whatever is determined to be the
sampling period, and we could look at trying to utilize the event listing report within Odyssey.
He stated that report would give any event that is added however we would want to make sure
we run it by the same counties and users. The reason for running it by user is to capture only
events that were added by the clerk and not events captured by the file & serve system. He
stated we may be able to leverage some of the existing reports to pull these statistics. Judge
Racek inquired if we can distinguish whether a document was scanned by the clerk or if it came
in through File & Serve. He stated we would like to identify the areas where it is not being used
as much. Justice Sandstrom asked Ronnie and Larry to look further into it. Ronnie stated he
would follow up with some of the other project managers who are working with other accounts
utilizing File & Serve and Odyssey to see if they have already come up with a way. Justice
Sandstrom also inquired into having the ability to report by geographic location. Larry will
work with Ronnie.
City of Fargo Go-Live Larry reported the city of Fargo went live on October 1st. The actual go-live went very smooth.
It started at 6:00 Friday night and finished at about 7:00 Saturday morning. He stated that clerks
came in on Saturday from across the state to test. Everything went well. He stated Cammie
spent Sunday through Wednesday supporting them in their office along with Jon Paul. He said
that they are doing fairly well. Cammie Schock reported that they really picked up on
everything quite quickly. She stated she was very surprised by how busy their office is. She
said they are feeling a little overwhelmed right now however they realize it will get better and
this is how everyone felt at the beginning.
Enterprise Custom Reporting Larry explained that Enterprise Custom Reporting was a module that was bought on July 1st
along with the SAM program. What that allows us to do is create custom reports and put them
out in Odyssey so the clerks can run them on an as needed basis. He said once the reports are
out there, the clerks will no longer have to ask IT to run it on their behalf. He stated we may
need a little more training from Tyler to get it going.
Web payment capabilities for all criminal case types Larry reported web payment capabilities for all criminal case types is now available. There is no
minimum dollar amount required and partial payments on payment plans are allowed. He stated
this week that the tax intercept application has been turned on for the western part of the state as
well. Justice Sandstrom asked if tax intercept is turned on for the entire state. Larry confirmed
that it is. Judge Herauf inquired into if tax intercept was for child support cases as well as
criminal. Donna Wunderlich explained that the Child Support office is first in line for receiving
the tax refund and that the courts receive it just for court fines.
Work in Progress 2011.6.15 Odyssey upgrade Larry states the number one goal for the next month is to upgrade the Odyssey system. The test
plan has been finished. He explained from an IT perspective a lot of testing has been completed
on 2011.6.15 and it appears to be a good release. We are going to continue testing it along with
clerks within the next couple of weeks. This version will include the remaining 9 projects that
have already been paid for. Larry stated the ability to search for a particular day’s court docket
on public access is one of the projects along with the ND version of the MN sentence order.
New statewide IVR system Larry moved on to discuss the statewide IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system and that it has
been a struggle to get the connectivity we need between us and Tyler. The system will have a
new 1-800 number where the individuals will call to Tyler who manages the IVR system and the
connection into Odyssey. He explained that is where the struggle has been but he believes this to
be completed and there are just a few things that need to be finished before testing can begin.
He would then like to do a pilot in Burleigh County and then roll it out statewide. Currently, we
only have IVR in Cass County which uses the Sonnet system.
Attorney merge Larry reported the attorney merge is a very intensive system process that is ran at night and
weekends. We started with 240,000 records trying to merge all the attorney and judge names.
They have been merged as of 2 weeks ago however we now have 40,000 records to fix manually.
These records are a result of data entry issues in UCIS. He gave some examples where someone
may have known the bar number but wrote over an attorney name or records where the bar
number was deleted and so forth. He said these are being manually fixed and hopes to have it
completed in the next 2-3 weeks. Justice Sandstrom stated the reason we have this issue was
because the previous product was a case based system and you entered a new judge or attorney
for each case. Odyssey can relate all these parties to one party record. He stated we have to tie
together which records belong to each other. Larry said once this is done we will have an
automatic feed from the bar board database so the records will stay current. Penny Miller
reported the bar board database will need to be rewritten within the next few years.
Ledger card query application Larry moved on to discuss the ledger card query replacement. He stated there is a report in
production now by hitting alt f1 from the reporting section; a selection will then come up with an
option to choose the Card Report. It will then prompt you for a full name or social security
number. It will also prompt you for a location. He said he asked for a couple changes this week
including being able to search the whole state as well as being able to use the wild card search
feature. He explained that once you enter in your search criteria it will display a page with every
case that individual is involved in. You can then choose by clicking on boxes which cases you
want to see. After you click submit, it will then display the disposition information, conditional
data and fines/fees. He stated it is a good start but there is still more to be completed on it.
Other New Strategic Account Manager Larry stated that last week when he was at the Court Technology Conference he was approached
by Sam Baugh, manager of the SAM program for Odyssey, and he stated that they have
identified an internal staff member to be our new SAM. He said in about 2 weeks we should
have this dedicated person on our contract again.
Larry went on to explain the database replication project. He stated we wanted to have the city
of Fargo on the system as well as the new version of Odyssey installed. He explained we
currently run off one single database statewide. Both the reports and public search run off of this
database as well. We want to make a replication of it so we can direct the reports and public
search activity to that database. We will leave the clerks and judges working on the primary
database. As updates are made on the primary it will duplicate on the replication almost
instantaneously. Then we will have 2 databases sharing the workload which will improve the
response time. This will come after the 2011.6.15 release but Larry would like to see this done
by the end of the year. Justice Sandstrom inquired if both databases would need to be located in
the same place or if it’s possible to have one in a separate site. Larry stated it could be located
anywhere but unfortunately cannot be used for disaster recovery. He explained it is not an entire
copy of the original. It is a copy of the user data but not of the system information. Larry
explained that the second data center would have to have a full set of data equipment.
Larry went on to discuss the cleanup of offense codes in the current database. He said
everything was brought over from UCIS as is and we have tried to police it as best we can
however when a states attorney says they have a charge and it is not in the current database it
gets added. He said we spoke with Jennifer Hauge asking if she would want to tackle this
project. Larry was unsure if she had agreed to it yet.
Judge Racek stated the scope of the project should be discussed. We have to make an
assessment as to whether or not these offense codes were cleaned up and consistent with what
the states attorney uses. He stated that one of the biggest impediments to file and serve for
criminal is the states attorney calls the charge something other than what we convert it to when
entered in Odyssey. He stated the Attorney General’s office may have different requirements
than we do. At some point, we are going to need to link these together. Either there will need to
be some sort of bridge as Minnesota has done or somehow get on the same page with offense
codes. He stated this is the next big area of getting the criminal cases into file and serve. As he
understands, the offense codes not matching is one of the main problems along with matching
the appropriate party in Odyssey. He said a much bigger decision needs to be made prior to the
cleanup. He inquired if we were going to get together with the states attorneys or if we are going
to try something different. He stated it is more than cleaning up offense codes. Larry agreed that
this needs to be a 2 step process. He stated that this would be a short term solution to clean up
Odyssey but long term something needed to be done. He has looked at what Minnesota uses and
is very impressed. He stated it is used across the state, law agencies, states attorneys and the
courts all use the same codes. Judge Racek stated Minnesota is not using File & Serve at this
point. Larry stated all the codes are standardized. Justice Sandstrom agreed that this is
something we need to move forward with. Judge Racek stated as he understands the best that
could be done in file and serve with criminal cases is that the documents could possibly be put in
but the clerk would still need to initiate the case. Penny Miller inquired if we were at a point
where we could go to the states attorney association and have them appoint a couple people to
work with us and the attorney general’s office.
Judge Racek stated there are two issues he wants to work on, one being the criminal restitution
and the second being how much of file and serve can we accomplish with the computer system
we presently have. He said even if we could get the states attorneys to scan in the documents to
file and serve it would save a significant amount of time for the clerk’s office.
He said in regards to the restitution issue in Cass, initially with Odyssey the clerk’s office was
collecting the money. There was some disagreement in this process with the states attorney and
at very high levels of administration that process was ended and now the local administration
does not feel comfortable trying this again without official approval. He stated a lot more work
is being created for ourselves and said it is a manual system for keeping track of judgments. He
said if it was focused on for a week or two, 50% of the work could be eliminated. He would like
to have someone work with them on trying to resolve the restitution issue. Judge Mattson asked
for clarification on the manual process of restitution and asked if the order to show cause is
included when they haven’t been making payments. Judge Racek stated the situation is the same
in any county where the states attorney collects restitution. What happens is the court orders a
judgment but after that point, the states attorney collects the money and the information is never
updated in Odyssey when the money is collected. The court never knows if they are delinquent
on restitution. The states attorney then has to contact the court to send a delinquent notice.
Judge Mattson indicated that Larry may want to check with Susan Hoffer to see how the process
works in Ward County. Justice Sandstrom explained when it was talked about taking restitution
over; there was a suggestion that the courts would need more staff and the states attorneys less.
Judge Racek stated that the court imposes a single dollar amount which we could collect and
send to the states attorney and they could still disburse the money and our records would then be
up-to-date. He also stated that we would avoid issuing a check from every case and just issue
them one check containing multiple cases on a weekly basis. Judge Mattson inquired if the
practices are different in the states attorney’s office depending on what county you are in and if
what Cass proposes to do would work across the board. Judge Racek stated what is really
needed is to have somebody from IT come out to Cass for a week and see if something could be
worked out. Becky Absey stated in Grand Forks a check is issued once a week and lists the
amounts and case numbers. She also stated their states attorney e-files all subsequent documents
into criminal cases. She stated one issue they are having is the criminal money judgments that
have duplicate case numbers cannot be e-filed into. Justice Sandstrom stated that the new
Odyssey user group will be focusing on this issue.
Justice Sandstrom reported that several committee members attended the Court Technology
Conference and they heard presentations on new features in Odyssey. He stated one of the items
they saw on display was Judge’s Edition for SessionWorks. It is currently in use by at least one
district. It allows for preloading of data and the clerks queue documents for the judges. He
stated it requires a PC rather than a citrix box. It also requires a new monitor which is large but
tilts way down so the judge would still be able to view the courtroom. Larry stated that if we are
interested they would allow us to pilot the system. Larry was unsure of the cost at this point for
licensing. He also stated that the system allows for a full text search across all documents in a
case. Justice Sandstrom added they are developing notices to be delivered via texting, twitter
and so forth. He also stated e-charging was being worked on and thought it may be a separate
product for law enforcement. E-scheduling was another feature being developed that would
allow you to make a block of time available for attorneys to schedule themselves. He said there
were iPad applications being developed as well. They are also working on training modules
which will be available to all Odyssey users and they will be ready around the first of the year.
Larry went on to list additional upcoming functionality that was presented. They will be using
HTML 5 which is the new version of web based graphics. This will mean that our graphics will
be a lot more functional. They are also using Silverlight which will allow improved portability
between browsers. They are working on a stamp drawer which will allow the user to select a
stamp and where to place it on a particular document. Signature pads that will allow us to sign
outside documents and a SessionWorks Clerk’s Edition for non-criminal cases are also being
worked on. He stated the tone of the conference was mainly geared towards electronic record
handling and ND is at the forefront.
Judge Medd inquired if there was a feature coming where there would be an option to prioritize
items that are sent to the judges file location. Larry had not heard of anything however he did
hear about a new feature called My Case Alerts which may be similar. Judge Mattson expressed
concern that we would be allowing people to file items last minute. Judge Medd also inquired
into the possibility of a drag and drop feature for rescheduling hearings. Ronnie Everett stated
he is not aware of anything but thinks it would be a great idea and will discuss it with the
product owners to see if it’s something they could implement. Judge Medd also stated they will
draft an email in regards to the prioritizing function to better explain what they are looking for.
Odyssey User Group Update Justice Sandstrom reported the new user group has been appointed and a few meetings have been
held. Chris Iverson is the chair; other members include Penny Miller, Judge Geiger, Jean
Lindvig, Kathy Ouren, Wanda Knutson, Shawn Peterson, Judge Racek, Justice Sandstrom,
Lanae Roos, Lois Scharnhorst and Donna Wunderlich.
Chris Iverson reported that the meetings take place via WebEx every 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the
month. She said a new SharePoint site is being worked on as a means to share information
within the group as well as the end users. It was discovered at the last meeting that a wide
variety of items are sent to the user group. It has been decided to form workgroups that can do
the leg work and research to bring suggestions and solutions to the committee. She said it was
decided that the requests should come into her and she will route them to the appropriate group.
She will be sending an email to all Odyssey users with the form and instructions on how to
submit requests and where to look for information.
Unit 2 judge’s request for a server based digital recording program to replace Dictaphones Larry explained this request originated in Cass County. Judge Corwin and Judge Marquart had a
system in their law offices where they had a handheld device they could record from and when
they were done they would dock the device and it will automatically take the electronic file and
transfer it to a server. Larry said he has done some research. There are a couple systems, one is
made by Olympus. It includes the handheld device, docking station with software and costs
roughly $500. The transcription equipment and software adds an additional $350 to the cost.
There is also a software package available called WinScribe which includes some voice
recognition software. WinScribe will also give you the option to use your Smartphone or a
microphone on your PC rather than the handheld device. It also has ways of prioritizing and has
security options as well. Larry stated he received a ballpark figure of $1400 per typist for the
Judge Racek stated the concern with Cass is that they have staff in 3 separate buildings.
Currently they are physically transporting a cassette. This would allow for an easier way to
distribute information. He said the machine used is more expensive then this new option.
Justice Sandstrom inquired into how many judges are using dictation. Judge Herauf stated all
the judges in his district use it. Donna Wunderlich also said there are a handful of judges that
use it in the South Central District. She stated they have a difficult time finding the tape
machines and can only be bought refurbished. The vendor also suggested they switch to digital.
She said the pricing they had seen was very similar to what Larry reported. She said the ability
to use a blackberry to record looked somewhat difficult. Judge Racek stated he doesn’t believe
we need voice recognition because there would be too many holes that would still need to be
filled in by others but would give the ability to pass the recording around the state if need be.
Judge Medd inquired if we were looking to do a pilot project. He stated it was looked at a
couple of years ago when he needed a new machine but it was decided we were not quite ready.
He stated that he believes we are now. Judge Mattson suggested surveying the judges. Justice
Sandstrom agreed and stated we should request more information on specific costs. He also
inquired if we would need new wiring or something of that sort. Larry stated it would work just
fine with what we have but we would need to look into disk space to store the files. Donna said
the product they looked at only kept the files for 30 days.
Penny Miller made a motion to have Larry survey the judges on how they are creating
documents and come to the group with a specific proposal. Judge Medd seconded the
motion. Motion carried.
Status of digital audio recording upgrade in Units 3 and 4 Todd Becker reported that in mid-August a new software package was implemented for digital
recording in Williams and Ward county courthouses. Earlier in the year, VIQ Solutions released
Encompass Satellite which is fully compatible with Windows 7 and is the reason for moving to
the free upgrade. The 3 courtroom installs in Williams County went well, however it was
discovered that a few changes need to be made. He said there are a few issues they are currently
working on. One is the administrative security rights and the monitoring of the audio recordings.
He said another issue involves the way case lists are created. Currently, it’s pulling fields from
Odyssey such as the defendant, dates and session numbers. He stated this would be covered with
the vendor on Tuesday. Todd reported that overall it went well and there were no issues with the
recordings. He said Burleigh and Morton counties are next for the upgrades but he is waiting
until all the bugs are worked out with Ward and Williams before proceeding. Justice Sandstrom
inquired if Todd was satisfied with the reliability. Todd said that he is.
Larry stated that one of the features that he likes is that it’s more of a wide area network release
which allows Todd to be able to sign into all of the courtrooms in Ward, for example, and check
to see if the system is ready to record and if it isn’t it will tell him what is wrong. He can then
remote administer or at least notify somebody that the courtroom is not ready. Todd said that
every once and awhile the courtroom machine is shut off which will also flag him so he will
know that it is off.
Judge Racek said one of their recorders was told to burn backup CD’s and inquired if this is a
short term process. Todd stated that it all depends on how long they want to keep it. He said a
lot of the recorders do burn all of their recordings. Judge Racek asked if it was really necessary
since it is on the courtroom pc, the local server and the Bismarck server. Todd responded by
saying it is more of a long term solution. He said every 4 years we try to replace all workstations
and servers, along with that we have to decide what to do with the audio. CD is the least
expensive format to retain for long term. Judge Racek stated we would not have a centralized
location for records. Todd stated there is a central server being maintained now and is hoping to
house everything there however that amount of audio is going to grow enormously. At some
point we will need to invest in additional servers and other hardware. Larry stated this is a topic
for another meeting however; the courts in general are putting everything on disk and someday
there will not be enough hours in the day to backup this data to tape for disaster recovery
purposes. He said we have to take a strong look at what we are going to do down the road to be
able to store that data long-term. In a lot of cases the data files are proprietary in the manner that
the database recorded it and it’s not a raw data file. In those cases you may not be able to use the
file without maintaining the database forever. The data retention periods need to be looked at
and how we are going to manage this.
Judge Racek stated its common practice for the court reporters to turn the tape machine on as a
backup. He inquired into what we are doing with those records. He stated those are short-term
and should never make it off the courtroom PC. Todd stated that every piece of audio is treated
the same. He said whoever is recording it should be accountable for what they are doing with
the recording. Judge Mattson inquired if this is an issue for this committee. Justice Sandstrom
stated it is technology to a point however Court Services is more appropriate to look at the
retention issue. Judge Mattson stated whether it’s another committee or us he agrees that it is a
discussion for another time. Judge Racek wants to make sure everyone understands the makeup
of our system and that we may be unintentionally adding stress to our system. Judge Mattson
stated those recordings by the reporters are a working document and once the transcription is
complete the recording should be deleted. Justice Sandstrom inquired if on appeal the transcripts
are prepared quite awhile after the event has happened. Penny said that is correct.
Larry reported there is a lot of talk about cloud computing in the courts. The cost is very low
compared to owning your own equipment. There are other states using it for just disk storage
and some are using it to transfer files for disaster recovery. The state of Utah has agreed to
house another state’s disk storage unit if they will house Utah’s. They are using the cloud to
transfer the data between the two locations in order to save money on the data communication
costs. He said we are going to hear a lot more about this in the future and we will have to
address it. The National Institute is looking at developing standards and certifications for
evaluating cloud companies so it can be used for national and state government work.
Justice Sandstrom inquired into how the monitors in the four large counties are going. Donna
stated she thought it was going better elsewhere than in Burleigh. She stated in South Central
they frequently have other counties scheduling cases at the Burleigh County Courthouse. With
how the monitors work today, individuals are unable to see the cases and have to ask the security
guard where to go. Larry stated that the solution is a change to the calendaring in Odyssey.
Both Burleigh and Ward have the calendars updated to use this solution and we have asked Cass
and Grand Forks to update their calendars. Once that is done we can make a quick change and
all cases will appear on the monitor. Becky Absey stated that Grand Forks was done updating
their calendars. Donna reported the only other problem is if they have an all day trial starting at
9 am, it falls off the calendar an hour after it starts and if witnesses show up after lunch they
have to ask where to go.
Justice Sandstrom asked one of the vendors at the Court Technology Conference about this issue
and stated they had the ability to put a local message on the bottom of the screen. The clerks
could update the message and put information about these cases in that space. Larry said this
has been discussed and to facilitate this we would have to set up a website or something with a
database so the clerks can have full control over what text gets displayed. He said this would
take some time and money to program. Larry stated the city of Bismarck has installed a monitor
For the Good of the Order Penny Miller asked if it was time to take Administrative Order 16 to Joint Procedure to
incorporate into the rules of court. Administrative Order 16 refers to the electronic filing pilot
project for the district courts. Justice Sandstrom said it is time since all of our courts are now on
it. Penny stated she would talk to Mike Hagburg to see if they are ready. She also stated we
may want to look into mandatory e-filing as well. Larry reported that the number of firms
signing up is declining. Penny said we would need to consider an alternative if the e-filing
system was down.
The meeting was adjourned by Justice Sandstrom. The next meeting is scheduled for December