Clark County courts system gets new records system

$400K system should help eliminate redundancy for justice departments.

The Clark County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts Office and other departments recently launched a new customized computerized system that will manage case information for county justice departments.

The new TAG Case Process Manager will process case information between the clerk of courts, law enforcement, probation officials, jury management, and the prosecutors and public defender’s offices.

“This is the first step in helping the county move toward a fully integrated justice system. It will eliminate redundant data entry, improve access to information across county departments, and simplify maintenance and support,” Clark County Clerk Ron Vincent.

Officials began working on establishing the system in 2014 after Prosecutor Andy Wilson’s office began looking into one.

The system, which was paid for by the county clerk of courts and title department user fees, is expected to cost about $400,000. But officials have spent about $285,000 so far.

The county began operating the new system May 2.

Wilson said the county was “long overdue” for a county-wide electronic court management system.

“Many counties have been on some kind of electronic system for years. Here in Clark County it sometimes feels like we are perpetually stuck in 1985. The integration of information from various departments into a joint case management system should help all departments more efficiently operate for the good of the citizens,” Wilson said.

The system will be implemented this year for the probation, prosecutor’s, public defenders, sheriff’s officials and jury commissioners’ offices this year, said Kimberly Deniston, Clark County information systems director.

“Ultimately, it’s an enterprise system where the cruisers from the time an arrest is made that data will be keyed into the system so there won’t be duplicate entry so it will flow from the sheriff to the prosecutor, from the prosecutor to the public defender, whoever needs it, over to the courts … It’s all the same software. Right now everybody has their own stuff,” Deniston said.

Deniston said the public defender’s office, for example, has to look up case information on the county website or go to the county clerk’s office and pull the file to view case information. But this system will eliminate the need for that.

“It’s definitely better in the long run,” Deniston said.

In addition, sheriff’s deputies key information into their booking system, print out forms and have to take the forms to the correct agency or department.

“The ultimate plan is make it so that common data that has to be transmitted across all those agencies will be electronic, and we just started with the clerk,” Deniston said.

She said the system can be used county-wide government agencies and municipal court officials have the option to use the system as well.

Vincent, a Democrat, faces Republican challenger Melissa Tuttle for the clerk seat in November.

Tuttle, an attorney, said she is glad the county upgraded its computer system. But she said she wished the system had more advanced technology and allowed attorneys and pro se litigants more access to case information.

Case information still cannot be viewed by the public online.

“If the courts, not Mr. Vincent because it’s not his decision, decide they want electronic filing, it’s available through this system. The common pleas court, they’re the ones that make that determination, not the clerk of courts,” Deniston said.