Lake County system replicates data from court record every 15 minutes.
From The Indiana Lawyer, April 6, 2005
Attorneys accustomed to standing in line are upgrading to searching online for information from Lake County courts.
The northwest Indiana county's online docket system allows lawyers and others who rely on information from the courthouse to access everything from judicial orders and hearing dates to chronological case summaries and child support payment histories with the click of a mouse.
The system became available online Jan. 31 for commercial subscribers (not equal symbol) attorneys, title companies, governmental agencies, and the like. A free public site will become available this spring.
Lawyers and the public all rely on information from our system, said Lake Superior Judge Jeffery J. Dywan. It provides an efficient system to allow access to that information.
Lake County's Circuit and Superior courts receive more than 85,000 new filings each year, Judge Dywan pointed out. With courts located in four communities (not equal symbol) Crown Point, Hammond, Gary, and East Chicago (not equal symbol) gaining access to information can be daunting enough for Lake County attorneys. But attorneys from across the state represent clients with cases in the county, the judge said.
Now, rather than trying to track down a file themselves or turning to the clerk's office for help, attorneys can help themselves by checking the progression of a case online, Judge Dywan said.
The new system saves time not only for those seeking the information but for personnel in the clerk's office, as well, he said.
Work to offer such a system began in 2003, but its roots stretch to the late 1990s when Lake County replaced its case management system that had been in place since 1976. The new system wired all of the county's courts into a central system in Crown Point.
In 2003, Lake County embarked on a project to update and upgrade its Web site to make it more functional.
The county decided to go to a more interactive portal, said Judge Dywan, who added the county's judges and the clerk decided to take advantage of the opportunity and place its docket online.
Judge Dywan was chosen by his fellow judges to act as a point person for the project, overseeing a committee looking to make the dream a reality.
From late 2003 into early 2004, they held a series of meetings with attorneys, title companies, governmental agencies, the media, credit bureaus, and banks (not equal symbol) anyone who might utilize such a system (not equal symbol) to learn what type of system they would find most beneficial.
That information was utilized to create a project proposal that was approved by the county's judges and then by the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court Administration in June 2004.
The project has forced the county's technical staff to work in ways it never has.
It was fairly daunting, said Mark Pearman, executive director of Lake County Data Processing. We have an automated court system here in Lake County, but going as far as putting stuff up on the Net like this, we had to get a lot of people's input.