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CLERK OF COURTS County computer upgrade starts



Published: Sat, January 22, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



No general fund money was used for equipment and software purchases.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Clerk of Courts Anthony Vivo is implementing a $1.6 million upgrade to the common pleas court computer system beginning this week to better provide service to the public.

Vivo said the PC-based system will tie in every court in the county with the exception of those in Campbell and Struthers, which chose not to participate at this time.

Youngstown Municipal Court will have the ability to tie into the system at a later date, he said.

Vivo said the upgrade "is to maintain records and provide access to the public in an advanced electronic format."

The system upgrade is being paid for exclusively from fees generated by the filing of new cases.

Those fees, the bulk of which come from the county's four area courts in Austintown, Boardman, Canfield and Sebring, are placed in the clerk's computer fund and used exclusively for that purpose. General fund money was not used to pay for the system, Vivo added.

Internet access

The upgrade will give the clerk's office the ability to scan documents and eventually provide Internet access to dockets.

Because information from the county's current system, which is 14 years old, will require conversion to the new system, the clerk's computers in the courthouse will be down from Wednesday through Feb. 1.

Vivo stresses his office will remain open, but he requests that lawyers and the public file only those documents that require time deadlines.

The new computer system is called CourtView, which is being provided by Maximus, a national court software and case management system that is used throughout Ohio, Vivo said. Maximus is based in North Canton.

According to its Web site, Maximus says CourtView provides rapid case creation, linking of related cases, integrated receipting and automatic bookkeeping, imaging of documents onto magnetic or optical storage media, and scheduling of various court activities.

Vivo said the system offers user-defined, table-driven codes and a multitude of selectable menu items. These features allow for the customization of each CourtView module to the specific needs of each court, he said.

Other benefits

Vivo added the new system also offers these benefits:

*Integrates state-mandated procedures with local court procedures and management functions.

*Accommodates the clerk's normal growth and supports daily activity and business transactions.

*Implements a system that is technologically advanced; has Web capabilities; and uses document scanning/imaging management. Vivo said this will help keep documents from piling up "all over the courthouse."

*Automatically creates completed forms with data from the system.

*Improves accuracy and timeliness of scheduling and notification.

Civil, criminal, domestic relations, domestic violence, judgment liens, appellate court cases and any other legal proceedings handled through the clerk's office will be converted to the new system.

Vivo said the system is probably used by two-thirds of the Ohio's 88 counties, including Trumbull and Columbiana.

The clerk said he anticipates the dockets will be online for public use by the summer and, over the next few months, the county's area courts and the juvenile court computer systems will be upgraded to CourtView.




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