Idaho courts look to provide online, 24/7 service

From The Spokesman-Review

Idaho’s cash-strapped courts are looking to go all-electronic in the future to save money and serve the public better.

State courts Administrator Patti Tobias told lawmakers Monday the courts have increasingly been using technology to gain efficiencies, and plan next year to bring the Legislature a proposal to allow Idahoans to “complete much of their court business in real time online, 24/7, without going to the courthouse.”

She said, “You will file court cases, pay your traffic ticket if you got one, find out when a case is scheduled for hearing, check criminal records, and view documents filed in a case – all electronically. … Idahoans will see better access, greater convenience, and more information.”

Meanwhile, an emergency surcharge on all Idaho offenders may be made permanent, now that it makes up more than $4 million of Idaho’s annual court system funding. The surcharge was enacted in 2010 to partially offset $5 million in budget cuts to the state’s courts, keeping the state’s courthouse doors open. “These critical services cannot be maintained at their present levels, however, without continued support from the emergency surcharge,” Tobias said.

After holding off for five years on added much-needed additional judges, the courts are requesting three new district judges next year and two new magistrate positions.

Tobias told legislative budget writers, “We are absolutely committed to finding innovative and efficient ways to meet the needs of Idahoans, using the resources that you have provided.”

From The Spokesman-Review

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