CLERK SHARON R. BOCK USHERS IN 21ST CENTURY COURTROOM
In-court processing brings courtrooms into the digital age
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (April 27, 2015) – In 2015, criminal courtrooms in Palm Beach County joined the information age. Starting in January, Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock began replacing paper court event forms with a state-of-the-art computer system that enables in-court processing of court actions such as pleas, bonds, court dates, and all prosecutor and judicial decisions.
Up until this year, clerks handwrote event forms in the courtroom to document court actions. Those forms were later provided to other clerk staff to be scanned and entered into the computerized case management system.
Now, clerks update cases on the computer in real time during court, eliminating the need for post-court updates and creating a much more efficient process.
“In-court processing has revolutionized the way business is conducted in the courtroom,” said Louis Tomeo, Director of Criminal Courts for the Clerk & Comptroller’s office. “By implementing this cutting-edge technology, we have increased efficiencies and the public gets the most up-to-date court information faster since the records are updated in real time.”
Clerks are not the only ones in the courtroom affected by the new system. Judges and defendants now sign documents electronically using signature pads, and attorneys can easily view court calendars as well as docket progress on computers in the courtrooms.
Twelve criminal courtrooms at the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach now have in-court processing, and the system is currently being implemented in all branch courthouses throughout the county.
“The move from paper to digital in the courtroom has taken years because of the complexity of criminal cases,” said Clerk Bock. “The stakes are extremely high because a mistake in a criminal case could affect someone’s life – whether or not they go to jail or go free. We did extensive testing to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this system.”
The public may view the latest information on criminal cases at any time on the Clerk & Comptroller’s website, www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/showcase. With in-court processing, that includes real-time updates of court events.
The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.
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