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TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today the 10th Judicial District will join the state's other judicial districts and the appellate courts on a new centralized case management system that will transform the way state courts serve the people of Kansas.

"In the interest of what's best for our state court system and the people of Kansas, the Supreme Court decided to move Johnson County District Court case management onto the centralized system that will be used by the rest of the judicial branch," said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “Having courts in all 105 counties operating on the same system and sharing case data will benefit courts, as well as the people who need our services.”

Thomas Kelly Ryan, chief judge of the 10th Judicial District, said today’s announcement marks an important transition for the 10th Judicial District.

“This change will allow our judicial district to join the rest of our state courts on a common system, a first for us and for the state,” Ryan said. “At the same time, we are grateful that Johnson County government supported our judicial district with its Justice Information Management System for many years and will continue to support our local needs in conjunction with the Odyssey case management and centralized payment systems. We look forward to working with the county and with all of our stakeholders to make this a smooth transition.”

Johnson County’s Justice Information Management System connected the court to law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to form an integrated system for justice data. Similar integration points will be developed in the new case management system to allow information to be shared with county governmental entities based on information security requirements, contribution to the effective administration of justice, and need.

Maury Thompson, deputy county manager for Johnson County, Kansas, reassured  county residents that information sharing will continue when the court moves to the new case management system.  

“Although we may be changing the current relationship with our district court partners, we look forward to continuing the critical public safety information sharing our community has come to know, appreciate and use on a daily basis,” Thompson said.

The process of moving Johnson County District Court case information from the Justice Information Management System to the judicial branch's new case management system will take about 18 months. Part of that timeline includes case data review and training court staff to use the new system.

Centralized case data and standardized processes

Once all courts are operating on the centralized case management system, it will allow the judicial branch to more easily access statewide case management data, which can be used to analyze workload and performance measures. Increased data quantity and quality will also make it easier to measure the impact of justice initiatives, such as the juvenile justice reform legislation passed in 2016.

To achieve the greatest benefit from centralized case data, the judicial branch will standardize processes and data points to support courts across Kansas sharing work and to provide a baseline for attorneys who practice in multiple state court jurisdictions.

Centralized case management system rollout

In January 2018, the Supreme Court announced it had entered into a contract with Tyler Technologies of Plano, Texas, to customize and use its Odyssey Case ManagerTM  system for district and appellate courts.

The 10th Judicial District was not included on the rollout schedule, although the Supreme Court and Johnson County District Court knew it could be added later. The rollout to all state courts, including all judicial districts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court, was projected to be complete by the end of calendar year 2021, but it could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The decision to include the 10th Judicial District while the statewide rollout is underway allows us to use resources already focused on this effort," Luckert said. "Plus, it supports our initiatives to achieve greater standardization, efficiency, and accountability as all our courts, judges, and employees use the same case management system."

Centralized payment processing

In November 2018, the Supreme Court announced to the judicial branch that it would centralize payment processing in the Office of Judicial Administration as had been done in some other states. The court said centralizing this function would provide important financial safeguards for the judicial branch and allow clerks to focus on case processing.

The decision coincided with the release of an updated clerks accounting manual, which provides guidance on accounting policies and procedures; site visits to district courts to review financial activities and processes; and training for employees who handle money as part of their duties.

When the first Kansas courts in the 8th and 21st Judicial Districts moved to the new case management system in August 2019, certain accounting functions, including payment processing, moved to a centralized payment center located in the Office of Judicial Administration in Topeka.

Duties previously performed by clerks in these two districts are now performed by the centralized payment center, including

  • monthly reconciliations

  • writing and delivering checks

  • submitting funds to unclaimed property

  • managing chargebacks, overages, and small refunds

  • credit card payment processing and reconciliation

Centralized payment center staff complete these and other functions under the supervision of accountants.

"Establishing the centralized payment center is consistent with our overall project goal of increasing efficiency and it also provides improved accountability," Luckert said. "Combined with the updated accounting manual, site visits, and training, it ensures all courts are following standard procedures and enforcing tighter controls."

Case management system key component of eCourt plan

Installation of the centralized case management system is a key component in the Kansas Supreme Court's eCourt plan. It will complete the conversion from local, paper-driven processes to a statewide electronic one. It will provide attorneys, judges, and court personnel using an internet connection immediate access to authorized case information, details, and records from across the state. It also requires statewide standardization of many local court practices.

The primary goals of the centralized case management system implementation are to:

  • Improve case processing in the district and appellate courts.

  • Increase the efficiency of information delivery to district and appellate court judges.

  • Increase operational efficiency and effectiveness through automating certain activities and streamlining other operations.

  • Improve data quality and integrity.

  • Improve performance measurement, analysis, and reporting through enhanced information collection, storage, retrieval, and analysis.

  • Enable work sharing between district courts, primarily among clerks and court services officers.

  • Enable data sharing between various governmental entities based on information security requirements, contribution to the effective administration of justice, and need.

  • Maintain and improve the ability to process electronic payments.

  • Enable web-based sharing of public information.

The 2014 Legislature established the Electronic Filing and Case Management Fund with deposits from docket fees dedicated to finalizing the efiling project and implementing centralized case management under the Supreme Court's eCourt plan. By statute, each year through fiscal year 2021, the first $3.1 million received in docket fee revenue will be deposited into that fund. In fiscal year 2022 and later years, the first $1.5 million in docket fee revenue is directed into the fund for things such as maintaining eCourt components.

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