- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky is pushing to digitize court records and eventually make them more accessible to the public.

State Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller said the goal is to get all 120 Kentucky counties and all types of cases operating on a single system by the end of 2015. Keller, chair of the courts’ Technology Governance Committee and leader of this effort, said e-filing simplifies work for court clerks, judges and attorneys.

“Many people have worked very hard to take this first step in making our system more efficient, cost-effective and better able to meet the needs of our citizens,” she said.

Keller told The Kentucky Enquirer (https://cin.ci/UpWfFs) all of these efficiencies will reduce the cost of doing business in the courts.

She does not believe it will cost court employees their jobs because most offices are already understaffed.

“Retirements and natural attrition should take care of it,” said Keller.

Kenton County went online Wednesday, joining Boone, Campbell, Gallatin and Franklin counties providing the service for civil cases.

Funding had been the system’s biggest hurdle, Keller said, until the Kentucky Legislature gave the state’s courts permission in 2013 to borrow $28.1 million - enough to get everyone up and running.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Boone Circuit Clerk Dianne Murray, whose court has had a couple hundred cases filed electronically since May.

Keller is anxious for the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court to be included in the effort, too, so she can carry around a DVD or thumb drive of the cases she reviews, instead of lugging around boxes and boxes of records.

Keller sees this as just another efficiency in the Kentucky court system, which has already done away with bail bondsmen, records court proceedings with audio and video (instead of relying on court reporters) and has implemented video arraignments.

“By studying other state’s (computerized) systems, we’ve learned from their mistakes and successes,” Keller said, “and think we’ll have one of the best systems in the country.”

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, https://www.nky.com

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