COURT TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Front Conference Room Supreme Court, Bismarck February 12, 2010 9:15 a.m.
Members Participating Dale Sandstrom, Supreme Court Justice, Committee Chair Becky Absey, Clerk of District Court Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education & Communication Rita Fisher, Deputy Clerk of Court William Herauf, District Judge Sally Holewa, State Court Administrator Joel Medd, District Judge Donna Wunderlich, Unit Trial Court Administrator Frank Racek, District Judge Jannelle Combs, Chief Deputy Supreme Court Clerk for Penny Miller
Members Absent Daniel Narum, District Judge Douglas Mattson, District Judge Penny Miller, Clerk of Supreme Court
Guests Brandi Fagerland, ITD Project Oversight Manager Jim Gienger, Project Manager for UCIS Replacement Project Rod Olson, Unit 2 Trial Court Administrator Allan Schmalenberger, District Judge Chris Iverson, Unit 2 Trial Court Manager Duane Schell, Director of Telecommunications for ITD Wanda Knutson, Clerk of District Court Barbara Hill, Clerk of District Court Kathy Ouren, Clerk of District Court
Staff Larry Zubke, Director of Technology
Minutes Jordan Hammargren
The meeting was called to order by Chair Sandstrom.
Approval of Minutes from December 18, 2009 Meeting Judge William Herauf moved to approve the December 18, 2009 meeting minutes. Donna
Wunderlich seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Update on the ITD's Network Upgrade Project Duane Schell, Director of the Telecommunications Division for the Information Technology
Department (ITD) was present to discuss the status of the ITD STAGEnet Upgrade.
Duane reviewed the history of STAGEnet along with the current status. In 1995 they installed a
new DNS/DHCP system. In 2000/2001, a new State Core Backbone was installed along with an
upgrade to all K12 schools and higher education. In 2006, ITD did a significant upgrade to the
Due to expanded internet requirements, ITD secured a new internet provider. Dakota Carrier
Network (DCN) was awarded the internet bandwidth contract. At the present time ITD has 2
GB of bandwidth that is fully redundant between Bismarck and Fargo for internet capacity. This
went into place during the summer of 2009 with a contract license period of five years.
Currently they are able to add 1 GB increments as needed.
ITD is now offering an Ethernet Transport Service. This allows for significantly larger
bandwidth to be offered than previously possible. The smallest available bandwidth on the new
service is 5Mb all the way up to 1GB per circuit.
Currently there are four quadrants on the network designed to carry and transport network traffic
across the state. Those quadrants consist of Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck. Between
all of these quadrants, ITD has the ability to do 2.5GB of bandwidth between them in a fully
redundant mode. Today if a link is lost between Bismarck and Fargo, the traffic would
automatically get rerouted from Bismarck up through Minot over to Grand Forks and down to
Fargo. That would be the situation between any of these links. The advantage is ITD would be
able to sustain an outage and continue to transport traffic without having a significant impact on
The new network will continue to have the ability to do 2.5G of bandwidth between all the
quadrants. The biggest advantage is that ITD will have the capability for all of the
infrastructures in place to go to 10GB.
The new network requires fiber optic lines to be installed at all end points. This construction has
been started and is expected to be completed in 2010. The soonest the Courts may expect to see
the new network delivered in any of the quadrants would be in 4th Quarter of 2010. This date is
largely dependent on the construction from the providers. ITD was able to negotiate with the
Dakota Carrier Network to allow them to have both networks up for a period of 90 days from
start to finish.
With the new network comes all new hardware at the endpoints. Assuming an office has a T1
circuit today, which is 1.5MB, it would be upgraded to 5MB. Financially, 5MB will cost the
same as the T1 costs today.
Once the project starts, ITD will have a website to keep everyone informed of the progress.
Replacement of the trial court case management system (including the status of the rollout,
municipalities, e-filing, web and phone payments, and web access to case information) Rod Olson reported that the Odyssey project is going well in Cass and Traill Counties. They
have started to go beyond the basics and are looking at ways to expand the use of the system
such as forwarding information electronically instead of via paper to the States Attorney and
Public Defender's offices. Documents are also being attached to hearings, which saves time for
judges. Phase 2 Subject Matter Experts (SME's) have also started working in the system. They
have been very pleased with how user friendly the system is.
Jim Gienger reported that Sonant has been rolled out in Cass County to provide the Interactive
Web Response (IWR) and the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payment solutions for traffic
tickets. The usage is being monitored.
Jim reviewed the variance report he had sent to the committee. The report gave a quick view of
the schedule and budget for the Odyssey project. The report is accurate as of January 31, 2010.
A little over 4.1 million dollars have been spent to date, which is 11.2% over budget for this time
period. The schedule performance is 1.8% over or behind schedule. The reason we appear to be
over budget now and weren't two months ago is due to a new project tracking spreadsheet that
assumes that you buy in stages as needed throughout the project so that you realize the value
immediately as opposed to later. In our case we had to pay for some of the equipment and
licensing upfront that will be used throughout the entire project. These costs will come back into
proper alignment as more time passes on the project. This variance didn't appear with the old
Secondly, Jim reviewed with the committee what else is partially contributing to the overage on
costs. Originally there was 7,680 hours budgeted for enhancements within Odyssey. We had
assumed in the beginning that we would spend about 70% of these hours during Phase 1, but
realistically we will spend around 80% of those hours. This means that we will not see the affect
of getting back to even until later in the project timeline. From a total legislative appropriation
perspective, the project is still trending alright, but discretionary measures need to be enforced to
ensure that the project stays within budget. Putting municipals on the Odyssey system should
not adversely affect the overall costs. The City of Fargo is on an existing court system and will
be working directly with Tyler to convert their data onto the Odyssey system. Judge Racek
asked the committee to consider moving the municipals to a later date so as not to impede the
electronic filing and Phase 2 rollouts.
Judge Racek commented on the benefit of getting E-Filing up and running. Our hope is that
everybody that does business with the courts will send the documents electronically. This will
decrease the amount of time and expense that it takes for the clerks to scan all of the original
documents. Other process changes like emailing court information to other state entities may
eliminate the cost of developing interfaces and will positively benefit the project budget.
Brandi Fagerland gave her assessment on the project. She is happy that attention is being given
to the budget, but agrees with Jim that we should be fine later in the project. Brandi also
mentioned the fact that the new spreadsheet tracks costs differently than the old spreadsheet.
Brandi felt that the project is going well.
Sally Holewa commented that she agreed with Jim, Larry, and Brandi that we are getting to the
point where we need to be budget conscience and ensure that it continues to trend in the right
Judge Racek brought up criminal restitution and requested that the committee look into
standardizing how it is handled statewide. Today it is being collected and tracked on the system
in some counties but not in all counties, which causes problems for various agencies. Other
issues arise with prejudgment and post judgment situations. Judge Racek suggested that the
judges and state's attorneys that are not collecting restitution meet to discuss further.
Sally Holewa reported that restitution is being collected as directed by the statute. In order to
change the way it is being collected, a change to the statute would need to occur.
Jim reported on the delay of the Wiznet E-Filing application. We originally expected it to be
delivered into production in January. Wiznet was able to deliver some products but not the
complete solution we were looking for. The courts asked Tyler to come up with a recovery plan
to get back on track and deliver the product we are looking for. Tyler identified two major areas.
First, they are going to add more resources to the project, both from Wiznet and Tyler. The
second thing was to have daily status meetings to make sure everything gets resolved. Tyler reported this week, that they completed their internal testing and plan to turn it over to the
courts for further testing. The plan is to be in production with it by the end of the month which
is about 6 weeks late.
Lee Ann Barnhardt asked if the E-filing system can be used by other entities besides law firms.
It was confirmed that it is intended to be used for many purposes by many entities once the pilot
Larry Zubke commented on the scanned images. He noted that it is a wonderful tool but we
have started to see that the file sizes of some images are larger than necessary because they were
scanned in color versus black and white. This makes large documents slow to open, difficult to
print and wastes valuable disk space. We are going to continue to monitor this situation.
Justice Sandstrom commented that scanning of black and white with 300 DPI will keep the size
of the file reasonable and the picture appears to be more crisp and easier to read. The file size
when you scan in color ends up being too large. All of this will affect the performance of the
Justice Sandstrom then turned the discussion to the topic of electronic access to case
information. We have general public electronic access to court information through the use of
the internet. We also have counter access in the clerk's office, where the public can look at more
information including court documents that the public is allowed to see. Counter access does not
allow the public to view restricted or sealed documents. The issue we have now is giving access
to lawyers outside of the clerk's office. Justice Sandstrom asked if there is a problem with, or
any objection to, allowing lawyers access over the internet to anything they would have access to
over the counter. Lawyers would need to sign an appropriate access agreement.
Sally Holewa raised a philosophical objection to providing attorneys greater access to publicly
accessible documents than the general public was allowed.
Judge Frank Racek moved that the court allow North Dakota lawyers the same viewing
access over the internet as they would have at the clerk's counter after signing appropriate
agreements. Judge William Herauf seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Jim reported on the E-signature module that will soon be installed on the test system. This will
allow judges or clerks to electronically sign documents that originate within Odyssey. This
version of E-signature will not allow electronic signing of documents that originate outside of
Odyssey. E-signature capability should be in production within the next couple of months.
Jim Gienger commented on the progress of Phase 2 which is the remaining 12 counties of Unit 2.
A lot of work has been started for this phase. The new Unit 2 SME's have been trained and have
started reviewing their data in the Odyssey test system. They have been reviewing the data for a
couple of weeks and have identified 30 issues so far. This compares favorably to the first data
conversion push of Phase I where there were over 60 issues identified. The second data push is
scheduled to take place next week. There will be 3 data pushes before we go live on April 19th.
At Judge Racek's suggestion, it was agreed that the municipal courts be scheduled to go live
thirty days after the district courts go live.
Jim Gienger reported that the "In Session for Clerks" installation will be delayed until late
summer to provide additional time for completing Phase 2 and starting Phase 3 go live activities.
For the Good of the Order The 2010 dates for the Court Technology Committee meetings are listed below. All meetings
will be held in the Front Conference Room at the Supreme Court and will begin at 9:15 a.m. To
the extent possible, telephone and ITV will be available as an option for all meetings.