Members Participating: Hon. Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Chair Hon. Joel Medd, Judge – Northeast Judicial District Hon. Frank Racek, Judge – East Central Judicial District Hon. Daniel Narum, Judge – Southeast Judicial District Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication Rita Fischer, Deputy Clerk of Court - McKenzie County Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court - Grand Forks County
Members Absent: Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Donna Wunderlich, District Court Administrator - Unit 3 Hon. Doug Mattson, Judge – Northwest Judicial District Hon. William Herauf, Judge – Southwest Judicial District Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court
Guests: Hon. Allen Schmalenberger, District Judge Kathy Ouren, Clerk of District Court – Cass County Chris Iverson, Trial Court Manager - Unit 2 Mike Hagburg, Staff Attorney for Joint Procedures Jack McDonald, attorney Ronnie Everett, Tyler Technologies
Staff: Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Cammie Schock, Technology Coordinator
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from June 10, 2011 Meeting
Judge Medd moved to approve the June 10, 2011 meeting minutes. Lee Ann Barnhardt
seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Odyssey Post Implementation Reports Larry Zubke began by summarizing the 3 reports. One of the key points was that we came in on
schedule and under budget by 5.4%. He said all of the key elements were installed and in use
before the end of June. We turned back approximately $500,000 of the funds appropriated for
the project. The SAVIN project and web payment rollout were completed in June which is why
we were right on schedule rather than ahead.
Larry reported that as of the end of June we had finished rolling out e-signatures in units 3 and 4.
The web payment rollout was also completed statewide. We are still working on the upgrade to
File and Serve 2.4 and the upgrade to Odyssey itself which provides the remaining North Dakota
Larry reported that attorneys statewide are utilizing the File and Serve system. He said that as of
this morning, 222 law firms have signed up for File & Serve training along with 50 state
agencies. 486 attorneys and 588 state employees have signed up for Secure Public Access.
In response to a question from Judge Racek, Larry explained that to accommodate the need to
allow state agencies to file documents without a fee, File and Serve was modified so there are
now two fee options for each code. One being the standard fee amount and the other being an
option signifying a $0 fee. Judge Racek asked if there had been any communication to the state
agencies. Larry stated the information was posted on the File & Serve site, an article was also
posted on the Supreme Court website and Justice Sandstrom included it in one of his daily
emails to attorneys.
Justice Sandstrom inquired into e-filings going into a queue for judges to approve and sign.
Larry stated there is really no way to get the document to the judge electronically for his
signature until the case is created in Odyssey and that occurs automatically when the filing is
accepted by the clerk. Judge Racek stated that in the days of paper files the clerk would open a
file, assign a number and give it to the judge. If the judge denied waiving the fee than an order
would go out with 10 days to pay the fee and if the fee was not paid the case was dismissed
under rule 11.2 of the rules of court. Judge Racek inquired into doing the same thing with the
new system, whereby the clerk would accept the e-filing to open a case and proceed with
sending it to the judge. Justice Sandstrom asked if this sounded like a reasonable process. Larry
stated that it was an issue with Ward County. He had spoken with the clerk of court and she was
against creating the case prior to the judge’s approval and signature. Judge Racek stated that if a
stack of papers gets put on a judge’s desk and does not appear on their report, these items may
get lost. Justice Sandstrom stated it did seem to be a reasonable process. Ronnie Everett stated
it seemed like a workable process. Judge Schmalenberger’s recollection was similar to what
Judge Racek explained. He stated that what Judge Racek has proposed makes sense and there
would at least be a record of what happened. Justice Sandstrom stated we should move towards
implementation of this process. Larry Zubke agreed and stated that the work put into these
potential cases should be documented so it could be reported on in the future.
In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom, Larry explained that web payments were
available statewide for traffic cases and we are moving towards payments across all case types.
Only the large counties use the credit card machines whereas the smaller counties process them
through a web portal. Justice Sandstrom then inquired into phone payments. Larry stated that
IVR is currently only functional in Cass County. He stated as of last week we are very close to
having a test system set up for IVR. Tyler will be processing these payments rather than Sonant.
There will be a new 1-800 number and we will be charged based on activity. Larry stated we
are probably 4-6 weeks out. He said we would want to pilot it in Burleigh County first. Ronnie
stated that these payments would be routed through Chase which is what we are utilizing for all
other credit card transactions. Ronnie agreed on the 4-6 week timeline. He stated that once
testing is completed the next step would be to pilot it in a larger county. Justice Sandstrom
inquired into how this was being communicated to the public and if stickers were being placed
on the citation envelopes. Larry stated that we have held off because our current 800 number
will be changing. Larry stated that he believes the web address was being added to the citation
Larry Zubke reported that as of July 1st we had entered into a new support agreement with Tyler
Technologies. Part of the agreement was for Tyler to appoint a SAM (Strategic Account
Manager) to work directly with ND to monitor daily issues, work on upgrades and basically be
our go-to person. Larry stated that they had appointed a person however she has resigned. In the
meantime, they have assigned Ronnie to our account along with two other managers, one who
was our original SAM manager and the other being a manager of the ONYX system which
tracks trouble tickets. He stated he has not been told that they have appointed a new person but
so far we are doing fine without a direct person. Ronnie stated they are still actively trying to
find the right resource to meet North Dakota’s needs. Larry has communicated his concern to
Tyler that if they hire an external applicant for the SAM position, it will be detrimental to us
because it will take someone from the outside a minimum of six months to learn Tyler’s
processes and another six months to learn our processes. Justice Sandstrom agreed that if they
hired externally it would be a big challenge.
In response to a question from Justice Sandstrom, Larry explained that our IT staff assumed
responsibility for attorney training on File and Serve about a month ago. Our IT staff created a
website for the registration process and implemented a practice of sending an automatic meeting
invite with the call-in telephone numbers when someone registers for the training. He stated that
we have been holding training sessions once a week and will continue to do so until the demand
declines. Cass County clerks continue to assist with the training sessions; primarily led by Linda
Brooks who has been involved with the training and testing since the beginning. The feedback
we receive is that the attorneys have found it beneficial to include discussion of North Dakota
business processes at the same time they are receiving training on the mechanics of e-filing. In
response to a question from Lee Ann Barnhardt, Larry indicated that we are using our
GoToMeeting account for the training. Lee Ann reminded him that if they want to allow more
than 25 registrants at a session, they can switch to the account number assigned to her.
Larry reported that we have been working on a comprehensive test plan which encompasses
many facets of testing, including a systemic review of all the ONYX tickets that we have
opened, tests interfaces, and general functions of the system. Cammie Schock stated it is a very
detailed plan and should be completed soon. Larry explained that the plan is needed because
Tyler continues to modify the system through patches but these patches are only tested for the
functionality they are designed to create or fix. They sometimes can have an unintended effect
on other functionality in the system so thorough testing before they are put into production is a
Larry Zubke also reported that the October 1st weekend is when the Fargo Municipal Court is
scheduled to go-live with Odyssey.
Odyssey User Group and Project Transition Plan Larry stated that the plan distributed includes the modifications and additions suggested by
Judge Racek and Sally Holewa at the June meeting. Justice Sandstrom asked for comments on
the final plan.
Judge Racek moved to adopt the plan as written. Rita Fischer seconded the motion.
Justice Sandstrom stated that he and Sally will meet with the Chief to put together the group
consistent with the approved plan. He expects this to be done next week. He explained that at
the end of the month the Odyssey Operation Oversight Group will be phased out and the new
user group will begin. The initial plan is for the user group to meet every two weeks or more
frequently if needed. Judge Racek inquired into which topics would be given priority with the
new group. He stated criminal restitution in the four largest counties is still an outstanding issue
along with States Attorneys using File and Serve to initiate criminal cases. He inquired if these
types of issues would be given to this group. Justice Sandstrom stated they should be, however
the group still reports to the Court Technology Committee. Larry explained that in regard to the
criminal cases, they have met with CJIS and the States Attorney’s office and have discussed a
plan to make Odyssey data accessible through CJIS. He stated that another discussion has been
with the Attorney General’s office in regard to restitution. He said we are still a ways out but the
discussions have started. Judge Racek asked if there was a way to get States Attorney’s
documents into the queue even if the clerk has to enter the charges in Odyssey prior to accepting.
Judge Racek stated this would be a major time saver over scanning. Larry said he will look into
it. Ronnie said he believes a procedure can be worked out to accomplish this. Justice Sandstrom
stated that this issue should go to the new user group.
Judge Racek inquired into the timeframe of electronically signing outside documents. Larry
stated he did not believe it would be anytime soon. Ronnie was not sure of when the
functionality would be in the product however it is on their road map. He explained the
contributing factors to its delay include a complete re-write of File & Serve and a major Odyssey
upgrade to version 2012. He explained that once these are complete we will see more of these
other functionalities available. Ronnie agreed to find out more about the Odyssey 2012 to see if
the ability to electronically sign outside documents is included in that release.
Judge Medd inquired into the Case Summary link from the e-signature queue and when it will be
working. Larry stated this was fixed in patch 25 however we are currently on patch 23. He said
the reason we have not implemented 25 was due to additional issues that would affect us in a
negative way. We are currently working towards finding a release that will provide stability
across the board. He said he would prefer waiting until we take the 2011.6 release which
provides us with additional functionalities. Larry stated since mid-June the focus had been on
File & Serve and building a test plan. He said the next big project was to get version 2011.6
Joint Procedure’s Proposed Amendments to AR41
Mike reported the Joint Procedure Committee has proposed an amendment to rule 41. This
would allow people whose records are on the internet to request the court to remove them in
certain cases where the charges were dismissed, they were acquitted or the record’s retention has
expired. He said this provision was put in the part of rule 41 that already allows people to
request prohibition of public access to records under certain circumstances. He stated the reason
this particular language was proposed was to both signal to the court and to individuals that if all
they wanted is to have their records taken down from internet access that would be possible
under this language and here are the circumstances where the committee thought it would be
possible to have these records removed from internet access.
Mike moved on to discuss the background of why this change has been proposed. He stated in
September 2010 the committee received a letter from Tom Dickson, criminal defense attorney,
which pointed out that in cases where a defendant receives a deferred imposition of sentence,
those records would be taken out of the system after the deferred imposition works its way
through. Tom was wondering why those deferred records are gone and not those who were
acquitted or dismissed and why they are in the system forever. Mike stated the deferred
imposition of sentence was a legislative measure. His questions sparked a discussion for the
committee, which consists entirely of judges and attorneys. Some defense attorneys have
observed in plea proceedings that the prosecution would suggest to dismiss the charges and the
defense attorney would have to fight for the defendant to have the ability to plead guilty in order
to get a deferred imposition of sentence so it would not show on public access. He stated there
was further input from the judges and Court Administrator’s office on how a lot of content
between the courts and the public consists of people in the public calling and asking why a
certain record of this long ago is still up on the internet where everyone can see it and stating
they have been denied loans, jobs and housing due to the record showing and asking what they
can do. This rule proposal was developed in response to the discussion of the committee and the
input they have received from the public to have certain records removed from the public
internet access site. The language of the proposal was taken from a proposal developed by the
Wisconsin Bar Association which was submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He stated
during the course of discussing this proposal a lot of the people on the Joint Procedure
Committee said it will be a lot of work for the courts and for those with the records out there.
People are going to have to make motions and the courts are going to have to review these on a
case-by-case basis. They questioned taking off these types of records completely. Mike stated
that it is a policy decision on whether these types of records should be blanket excluded from
access and that is why the letter was sent to the operations group and ultimately has ended up
with the Court Technology Committee. He stated it is not within the Joint Procedures ambit to
make policy decisions. They are recommending by letter to the Court Technology Committee to
automatically exclude these cases.
Justice Sandstrom stated that with the retention period, misdemeanors would go off after 7 years
and felony’s after 21 years and he wondered if final disposition is defined anywhere. Mike
stated that is a question that maybe should be addressed with those who work with these records
daily. He stated under the courts retention schedule, for example, a felony is retained for 21
years after the date of final disposition. Mike said an attorney could argue the final disposition
could be the day they have completed their sentence and another attorney could argue it is the
date the sentence is handed down. He stated that is a question for the clerk’s office of what the
practice is to get rid of the paper files.
Jack MacDonald inquired into what exactly the request is. He said the rule states the court may
prohibit internet access. He is not aware of what internet access is available. Mike stated that
you can search on the district court site and a response comes up to the search which directs you
to the docket. Justice Sandstrom stated one of the issues that may have pushed this issue
forward is the questions of whether or not the first page of the search accurately reflects the
disposition. Judge Racek stated one of the issues was that people would come in and get charged
with issuing checks without funds as a felony for example, but would get a misdemeanor by
disposition; however, the initial search result still appears as a felony. He stated the second issue
is where they might have been charged with gross sexual imposition felony but was dismissed
and the disposition does not appear on the initial search results as well. He said that when
people do record searches for jobs and such, they may not take the time to look further into the
Justice Sandstrom stated that is a separate issue where we are looking into doing something
similar to Minnesota as far as changing the initial search results. Larry stated once you click into
the case Minnesota has highlighted the disposition to draw people’s attention to it. Larry stated
it has been tested and we are able to do it however every time Tyler makes an update to the site
the changes would be taken out and have to be put back in. He said it is a no cost solution for us.
Larry stated that if the case type starts as a Felony and then gets lowered to a misdemeanor
should the case type be changed to a misdemeanor and how will that affect the weighted case
load. Justice Sandstrom said that is being looked into.
Jack said the recommendation from the Joint Procedure Committee appears to be a bit of an
overreaction. He stated that rather than cutting off the access completely to these records we
should look into correcting the issues as discussed. He stated that his understanding is the
federal system decides what is available and what is not. Once that is decided it’s available by
all methods and modes, paper, digital, internet, courthouse and so forth. He said if we accept
this recommendation we will be watering down and destroying what a record really is. He said
that the effect of adopting the recommendation is that we would be making a decision on who is
worthy of receiving this information and how. He said that employers and others should be able
to see what the record really is. He said the school systems are forced to do record checks and
this information should be available to them as well. He thinks we are making some judgments
that just aren’t warranted. He said one defense attorney has come in asking to change things
and he would hate to see this change unless it is really looked at with a lot of study. So far there
has been one recommendation from Tom Dickson and some comments of people not being able
to obtain employment. Judge Racek agreed that there were not any scientific facts that show this
is the reason individuals were not hired. Judge Medd said that in a university community it is an
issue that comes up. He said that even if a case is dismissed and the background checks go to
BCI, they will get the full record anyway. Judge Racek explained that another purpose for
putting this on the internet was so clerks wouldn’t have the burden of searching for all this
information at the public’s request. He said that if the court adopted the recommendation of the
Joint Procedure Committee, then it would administratively diminish the impact of what we are
trying to accomplish by having electronic records. He also does not like that the proposed rule
makes the courts public search results a mixed bag where some records may be excluded and
some not based on the individual rather than the charge or disposition. Becky Absey said that
she prefers the records to remain on the public website. Rita Fischer said that if a record is
public in the office it should remain public on the internet. She said that if someone does a
record check on the internet and then come to the courthouse and finds additional records we are
not giving them accurate information of what is on file. They will ask how we have the right not
to tell them we have these records. If it is public record it should remain public. Becky stated
she believes we could do a better job of displaying the information on the public site. Justice
Sandstrom agreed and stated that when the Supreme Court docket went online Penny Miller was
concerned on what the effect would be. The biggest thing they found out was their work load
went significantly down due to fewer inquiries. Rita suggested that if the recommended changes
were made, people would stop trusting what is online and start calling the courthouse to get the
records. Jack said that from the news media standpoint the dockets online have been extremely
helpful in getting accurate stories out. He suggested that if the recommended changes were
adopted it would destroy the court’s intent of making accurate information available remotely.
Rita said there was concern raised by someone who has the same name and it appears as if they
have a criminal record. Justice Sandstrom stated by putting in the date of birth that could be
Judge Racek moved to oppose the proposed administrative rule as written for the reasons
reflected in the minutes. Judge Narum seconded the motion. Justice Sandstrom asked if
there was any additional discussion. No discussion. Motion carried unanimously.
Justice Sandstrom asked Larry to do additional work on displaying the public documents more
accurately at the initial search results.
Court Technology Conference (CTC) – October 4-6, 2011 Larry Zubke inquired into who will be attending the conference October 4-6. Justice Sandstrom
and Becky Absey stated they would be attending. Judge Racek stated Rod Olson and Chris
Iverson would be attending as well.
Other Lee Ann reported that we launched the Enterprise Learning Management system this week, with
the registration for the juvenile court conference. This is a statewide system that allows users to
electronically register for training as well as providing an electronic transcript of training credits.
She said manually adding the signature on the affidavit is still required but otherwise it is all
electronic. Any education or training that is offered outside the court can be added to the system
under supplemental learning so users can track all credit hours together. She believes the IT
staff will be able to use the same system for IT workshops. She said the initial results are
positive and the system has been working well. In response to a question, she said that the
program is part of the PeopleSoft portal. She said the next group to use the system will be the
court reporters, followed by the judges. She explained that there is an issue with the clerks using
the system for registration due to the fact that you have to be a state employee to access it and
there must be a PeopleSoft system record to attach the education information to.
Judge Medd inquired into the possibility of having a training session for judges to better share
ways they might be navigating through Odyssey. Justice Sandstrom agreed. Lee Ann agreed to
work with the IT Department to find the best way to do this. Larry said that Judge McCullough
has conducted a hands-on training session which was very well received by other judges and he
thinks this may be a good solution. Judge Medd agreed.
Larry reported that the second image storage server is up and running. He also said that we are
close to having the Enterprise Custom Reporting module up and running as well. This will allow
us to write our own custom reports. Larry also reported that the attorney merge has been
running and approximately 1,000 attorneys are merged nightly. He explained that there are
240,000 records and he anticipates it to take approximately 30 days to complete the merge.
Justice Sandstrom expressed his appreciation to those who participated in the Operations
Oversight group and said that this is one of the reasons the project was so successful.
For the Good of the Order
The meeting was adjourned by Justice Sandstrom. The next meeting is scheduled for October 14,