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5:49 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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You might think that in 2013 the court system computers in Cuyahoga County would be able to communicate electronically.

But you'd be wrong.

"For $38 million, we could have built a building and developed this system and had it up and running," said Cuyahoga County Councilman Mike Gallagher.

The District 5 councilman is appalled that the county has yet to implement an electronic filing system, even though contracts were approved with a company called Proware 12 or more years ago and millions of dollars have already been spent.

A lawyer representing Proware says the company is prepared to launch e-filing, but it can only perform the services that it's been asked to do.

The county's administrative judge, Nancy Fuerst, says it's a very complicated process, but she said she has ordered e-filing of some civil cases beginning next week.

Later this week, she is expected to announce a timetable for when e-filing of criminal cases can begin.

The current system of manually filing documents is time-consuming and expensive.

"It adds to the time a staff person has to take and then, of course, we are printing paper that we will discard," said Andrea Rocco, the clerk of courts who has often butted heads with Fuerst since taking over as clerk earlier in the year.

E-filing is supposed to electronically connect the clerk's office with the courts and the prosecutor's office. 

Gallagher has been critical of the new system, which has cost taxpayers millions but has yet to be launched.

It seems everyone agrees that once e-filing is up and running, it will benefit both the courts and the general public.


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