Members Participating Dale Sandstrom, Chair Becky Absey Rita Fischer William Herauf Sally Holewa Doug Mattson Joel Medd Penny Miller Daniel Narum Frank Racek Donna Wunderlich
Members Absent Lee Ann Barnhardt
Guests Jim Gienger, Project Manager for UCIS Replacement Project Rod Olson, Member of the Operations Oversight Group Dorothy Howard, Member of the Operations Oversight Group Allan Schmalenberger, Member of the Operations Oversight Group
Staff Larry Zubke, Director of Technology Todd Becker, Network Analyst
Minutes Lauren Strinden
The meeting was called to order by Chair Dale Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes Minutes from February 6, 2009 were reviewed. Judge Joel Medd moved/Donna Wunderlich
seconded to approve the minutes. Motion carried.
Sally Holewa opened the meeting with the announcement that just before this meeting the House
Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 2002 providing for the judicial branch's 2009-2011 biennium budget. Ms. Holewa was pleased to report that the approval includes full funding
for the UCIS Replacement Project, partial funding for three deputy clerk positions, and funding
for four tech positions with an initial temporary status.
Ms. Holewa also summarized the "parenting" Senate Bill 2121 for the Committee. This bill
changes the terminology related to child custody; mandates a parenting plan for parents in court
with child custody issues; and provides funding for parenting coordinators to act as mediators in
high conflict cases. Ms. Holewa also mentioned that the judgeship bill is going forward with the
possibility of two new judgeships.
Update - Tyler Odyssey Implementation Status including Data Exchange Activities Jim Gienger reported that the execution phase of the UCIS Replacement Project is in its sixth
week and is on track with the project's timeline and budget. He noted that it was one year ago
this week that the initial RFP for the project was issued.
These first six weeks have been very busy for staff statewide as they worked with Tyler
representatives on-site in Bismarck, and via web sessions and conference calls on the extensive
process of configuring Odyssey in preparation for next week's milestone event: the first of five
data conversions from UCIS to Odyssey. This data conversion will identify conversion issues.
During the week following the conversion, court clerks will be on site in Bismarck to perform
According to Mr. Gienger the only obstacle so far in the plan has been the recent severe weather
conditions forcing a postponement of the Municipal Court Odyssey Demonstration, now
scheduled to coincide with the Clerk of Court Demonstration during the month of May.
Judge Frank Racek expressed concern that tracking of restitution payments could be a potential
gap in the system. In Cass County the State's Attorney's office is responsible for collecting
restitution payments and maintaining account balances. Ensuring the account balances are
available to Clerks of the Court throughout the state will require a CJIS interface.
Judge Racek pointed out that the restitution issue is further complicated because in other counties
it is the Clerk of the Court's office that collects restitution, while still others utilize a hybrid
system, such as Ward County. Since Odyssey will be used statewide it is imperative that all
judges understand how restitution is being handled in every county so they can identify when
additional information on a case may be held by the state's attorney. Judge Doug Mattson
reported that Ward County's Clerk of the Court receives felony restitution payments and the
State's Attorney collects misdemeanor restitution payments.
According to Ms. Holewa, one way to solve this is to standardize the business practice of
restitution payments. This option is possible because the statute allows for the procedure to be
changed by agreement. She offered her procedural preference that all Clerks collect restitution
and interface with the State's Attorney's office.
Judge Schmalenberger commented that Odyssey can perform the restitution function any way
that suits the court system but before proceeding a uniform understanding of how the four larger
counties handle their restitutions will be essential.
Judge Racek brought up a related issue of handling pro rata restitution decisions. Currently in
Cass County it is the State's Attorney's Office that decides how a partial restitution payment will
be spread among multiple victims. Judge Racek added that this example is further complicated
when additional victims turn up with more bad checks after a judgment.
Judge Racek reported that the collection and dispersion of restitution payments in Cass County
require two full-time employees.
Becky Absey and Donna Wunderlich tried to recall the number of FTE's determined in a past
study. They believe it was between seven and nine.
Judge Mattson recalled that eight years ago Ward County was in the process of computerizing the
restitution process, however, the County's one employee responsible for the procedure preferred
to not use it.
Chair Sandstrom thanked Judge Racek for identifying restitution as a potential issue and assured
the Committee that the multiple ways to proceed and relative consequences have been noted and
will be taken into account.
Mr. Gienger continued the UCIS Replacement Project update reporting that 50 gaps in the
configuration from UCIS to Odyssey were initially identified. Of these 50, half were worked
around and led to no-cost solutions. Currently 20 Conceptual Project Design's (CPD's) have
been approved as project enhancements and will all be developed and ready for October's pilot
Ms. Holewa wanted to disperse the negative connotation that might be associated with the term
"work-around." She clarified that the term should not be misinterpreted that the solution was
somehow jerry-rigged to get by on the cheap but rather a business practice modification resulted
in a no-cost solution to the project.
Mr. Gienger moved on to the cost of enhancements. Of the project's budgeted $1.2 million,
$671,000 are committed to 20 approved CPD's leaving a balance of more than $500,000
available for enhancements anticipated to arise after October's pilot county roll out. One CPD,
the interface with SAVIN (Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System)
through CJIS will not be ready by October, but will be incorporated in Phase 2.
Judge Racek stressed that now is the time to identify and incorporate possible interfaces. He
brought up the importance of information sharing especially with CJIS but also with other non-law enforcement agencies such as the State Hospital. When considering a particular task he
believes it is too easy to say, "No, it can't be done," and continue to perform it manually. He
noted the sensitivity law enforcement in the field has for CJIS and the need for them to
understand how Odyssey will interface with CJIS.
Discussion ensued with Ms. Holewa noting that upon entering a search, CJIS talks to Department
of Corrections and the information is located. Chair Sandstrom advised that Odyssey provides
the opportunity for people to be entered as an interested person on a case and those persons will
be notified accordingly.
Ms. Holewa wanted to clarify that Odyssey does not currently have e-mail notification capability,
however Wiznet, the electronic filing and content repository software, sends back a link in an e-mail message and the interested person retrieves the notice by following the link.
Chair Sandstrom observed that an e-mail message alone does not provide an indication that the
party has received a notice, however, a record of receipt will occur once the link takes the party
to the server to retrieve the document.
Mr. Gienger reported that next month he will be meeting with Wiznet representatives and has
noted the question.
Judge Racek encouraged the Committee to get this process diagramed out before October. Chair
Sandstrom assured a follow-up on the issue.
Chair Sandstrom asked Larry Zubke for an update on the move of the Judicial Branch
Information Technology Department to its new office location in downtown Bismarck. Mr.
Zubke reported that the staff has moved, however they are still in the process of moving servers
from the Judicial Wing. The new IBM hardware purchased for the Odyssey system has been
installed. The data validation scheduled to start on April 14th will be the first test of the Odyssey
system and the state network.
To illustrate how intense the work has been over the first seven weeks of the UCIS Replacement
Project, Mr. Zubke reported that to date over 1,200 clerk and IT staff hours have been clocked in
meetings or providing data for the conversion.
Ms. Holewa updated the Committee on the Protection Order CPD. Judge Schmalenberger has
been assigned to work with Tyler and others to assess the protection order system and
procedures to determine how to best make the Tyler system work for North Dakota. Ms. Holewa
reported that Judge Schmalenberger is digging into myths inherited from the past on why a
practice is done in a certain way.
Chair Sandstrom asked if the UCIS Replacement Project is where it needs to be today. Mr.
Gienger, Mr. Zubke and Ms. Holewa all responded affirmatively. When further questioned by
Chair Sandstrom if at this point there are any unforeseen factors or surprises the Committee
should know about, Mr. Gienger, Mr. Zubke and Ms. Holewa all responded negatively.
Responding to a query on Odyssey's case numbering system Mr. Gienger explained the new
numbering system would not change drastically, but would provide more information including
the case type. The year would be allotted four digits instead of two, and the rest of the number
would remain the same. He added that the number assigned to current cases using the UCIS
numbering system would remain.
Mr. Gienger pointed out that there would no longer be a restriction case type but rather a more
versatile flag that can be associated with a name or even a subject category. Judge Racek asked
if the restriction flag could be useful for triggering extra security, for example in a domestic case.
Ms. Holewa affirmed that the restricted flag is not limited to criminal cases and Mr. Gienger
added that the flag can signal the need for extra security in advance of a hearing.
Mr. Gienger announced that the Quarterly Report to ITD is due in two weeks and he will he will
be meeting with Brandi Fagerland, Large Project Oversight Analyst for ITD, on Tuesday, April 7,
2009. Upon completion of the report Mr. Gienger will be sure each Committee member be sent
Chair Sandstrom commented on the advantage of identifying all of these issues early on in the
process and asked for additional questions and comments. Receiving none he advanced the
meeting to the next topic on the agenda.
Update - Digital Audio Upgrades Todd Becker reported that the installation of new digital audio recording equipment in court
rooms around the state is on schedule:
Bowman was completed in February.
The Supreme Court has been installed. This week Mr. Becker is working on an
instruction manual describing how to set up a portable audio system when the Court goes
on the road.
Devils Lake's two court rooms have been upgraded to the Encompass system. The digital
audio, LEC and wireless portion have been completed.
Grafton and Wahpeton are also up to date.
In Unit 4 microphones have been delivered in Crosby, Watford City, Stanley, and
Jamestown and Valley City are both on the Encompass system and can eliminate their
To this list Judge Medd noted that Minnewauken has received its equipment and is in the process
Judge Mattson enquired on the status of a new portable system for Ward County's courtroom
As these servers are eliminated Mr. Becker brought up the question of audio record retention to
the Committee. Although records are backed up on tape, Mr. Becker does not recommend tape
as a secure retention medium. He recommends exporting to DVD or CD and storing them in a
portable safe in a controlled environment and maintaining the file by re-recording as new
technologies are employed.
Discussion ensued. Ms. Holewa stated she doesn't believe that the retention schedule covers
electronic records, therefore, she would recommend following the same rules as paper records.
Ms. Absey advised that retention rules vary widely with case types and cited these examples: a
name change must be retained for 100 years from disposition date; a felony must be retained for
21 years; and a divorce 50 years from date of disposition. Penny Miller offered that the Supreme
Court destroys its tapes after five years.
Considering that case records are not sorted by type, Ms. Holewa made a motion/Rita Fischer
seconded to export all records off the old servers and store on DVD or CD and maintaining these
electronic records according to the same retention rules as other documents in the file.
Discussion - Deployment of Interactive Video Mr. Becker reported that Interactive TV (ITV) is in the process of being ordered for the new JBIT
offices, however the specific location has not yet been determined.
Chair Sandstrom read an e-mail message he received from Tom Dickson, a criminal defense
attorney who wanted to share his experience attempting to link up live video testimony from an
out-of-state witness in the Mandan Courthouse. Although eventually access to a compatible link
was found, Mr. Dickson's message was simply that it would have been helpful if court rooms
with a jury box had the capacity to use ITV. Chair Sandstrom asked for discussion on this issue.
Ms. Wunderlich commented that juries have the option go into an Interactive Video Access
Neighborhood (IVN) room. Rod Olson reported that Fargo has an IVN access court room and
has used it. Judge Medd stated that in Grand Forks a committee established the protocol and
developed a brochure outlining steps to take for attorneys' use. Judge Medd sent a copy of this
brochure to Ms. Holewa who forwarded it on to members of the Administration Council. Ms.
Miller asked if a portable IVN was a viable solution to which Mr. Zubke responded that the term
portable is misleading because the link is not portable and must be set up by ITD.
Chair Sandstrom asked for Judge Daniel Narum's input. Judge Narum asked the Committee to
keep in mind the technical limitations of small rural counties when planning for interactive video
access and reminded the Committee of the rule that assures the physical presence of the court.
Ms. Holewa agreed and commented that former resistance from local governments to install
interactive systems is waning as more people realize the communication advantages the systems
For the Good of the Order Chair Sandstrom opened the meeting to "For the Good of the Order" items. Having received
none the meeting was adjourned at 10:45am.