Notes From the Field

Notes From the Field

by / September 30, 1996
Drag the Judges Slowly
Re: "Technology in the Criminal Appellate Process," August 1996 by Richard Power.

I'm fascinated with your concept of providing free software for the courts. I am downloading some files now and I can't wait to get a look at them.

I am on a committee here where we are trying to drag the other judges slowly into this century. As yet ... I have only succeeded in getting a few of them signed up to the Net. I know there is some interest in the technology of the Internet because several of them come to my office to view the information available on our Division of Elections home page.

We have recently moved back into our courthouse which was built some nine years ago at a cost of millions upon millions of dollars ... only to find out in five-plus years it was a sick building. We were evacuated for three years while it was virtually rebuilt. When it was being rebuilt, the powers that be were persuaded to install fiber optics. We moved back in December of last year ... and still do not have a network installed. However, we are working on it.

We are lucky to have a Supreme Court that believes in advanced technology, and we are finally getting some state money to upgrade or revamp our system. Our CJIS leaves a lot to be desired, and as yet we still have no case management software for the judges. I'm always on the lookout for software which can be adapted for our system. I shall check back at your page frequently!

I wanted to send you a note thanking you for your time and willingness to help the Judicial system ... goodness knows we need it! A friend of mine has started a Judgenet mailing list ... and we now have judges all over the country who share ideas and information available on the Net. I shall include your page as a definite must-visit site.

Anne Kaylor
Polk County Judge
Polk County, Fla.


More Records Online
Re: "Judicial Records: Can Privacy Concerns Co-exist with Public Access?" May 1996 by Harry Hammitt.

I read the article concerning the debate on electronic access issues relating to California criminal court records in Government Technology magazine, ; and, indeed it was a thought-provoking article in light of the ongoing effort of the Virginia Circuit Court Clerk's Association to introduce more technology in our respective offices and place more and more records online.

Please know that I believe it would be very beneficial to subscribe to your newsletter concerning public access issues. I sent the recent article to the State Circuit Court Clerk's Association President Gerald Gibson in Danville. I would hope that you might be invited to address one of our regional or state clerk's conferences.

Please visit the Circuit Court Clerk's Office for Wise County and the city of Norton Web page at and also .

J. Jack Kennedy, Jr., Esq.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Wise, Va.


New Column Kudos
Re: Access Column, July 1996 by Harry Hammitt.

I enjoyed your first column. I distribute a newsletter four or five times a year concerning legislative information access in New York state. It's usually about one and a half or two pages. If you'd like to be on my list, let me know. If you do want to receive it, I would also appreciate the benefit of your comments and suggestions.

Reginald Neale
Secretary for C.O.A.L.
Citizens for Open Access to Legislation


Forum For Government
To the Editor:

I have been an avid reader of your publication almost from its inception. It is the best of its class. It has truly created a forum for those of us who are interested in good, efficient government services. And I am happy to see your presence on the leading edge of knowledge sharing.

Congratulations for creating an excellent site. Keep up the good work, and if you ever need any comments or input from a "working judge" -- who for the last 18 years has been involved with computerized criminal dockets, imaging documents for civil and juvenile court, and beginning e-mail and scheduling for a 23-member lower court in the largest jurisdiction in Kentucky -- please post me.

District Judge Don Smalley
Hall of Justice
Louisville, Ky.


The Technology Gateway
To the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to compliment you on the September 1996 issue of Government Technology. This issue confronted the changing technology "head on." David Aden's article, "Online to the Year 2000" prompted me to write about our experience in Austin, Texas.

Taking data and information and turning it into knowledge is one of the most critical challenges facing communities today. In a move to keep Austin's communications policy proactive, Austin, Travis County and the state of Texas recently joined forces to ensure that all citizens will have access to the National Information Infrastructure. Construction has begun on a fiber-optic cable network linking virtually every local and state government office in Austin.

The $15 million Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network, to be completed by the end of 1996, will provide telephone, data and video services for seven members: the Austin Independent School District, Austin Community College, the city of Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Travis County, the state of Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.

The 285 miles of cable connecting more than 300 public facilities will be the largest cooperative telecommunications system in the nation. More importantly, Austin students will be able to use the network for everything from accessing library materials located across town to communicating with electronic pen pals around the world.

Technology is a gateway not only to the future but also to the past.

Jimmy A. Castro
Member, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin, Texas


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