By Dan Trevas | November 10, 2014
More than 4,000 users within Ohio’s courts and criminal justice system are researching and sharing critical information on a daily basis through the Ohio Courts Network (OCN). To ensure Ohio courts can continue to share information and to protect the investment in the system, the Supreme Court has proposed a new rule requiring courts link to the OCN.
The Commission on Technology and the Courts and the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence have recommended the Supreme Court adopt proposed Superintendence Rule 34. Today begins a 30-day public comment period on the proposed rule.
The OCN was launched in 2008 and now courts can search various records including court cases, jail bookings, protection orders, Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving records, Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrests, and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction prison records.
“The OCN court case data warehouse currently contains over 45 million case records and is receiving daily case record updates from approximately 300 courts, representing 85 percent of the annual case volume in the state,” Robert Stuart, Supreme Court Director of Information Technology, said in a memo outlining the rule.
More than 350 courts are using OCN and currently, but not all have the capability to share data through the system. The Supreme Court has invested more than $3 million in building OCN connectivity into electronic case management systems used by the local courts.
Stuart notes that courts are empowered to make their own decisions about using electronic case management systems and selecting the vendors to provide case records services. While some vendors have attempted to charge local courts for connecting to the OCN, the Supreme Court has already paid to ensure all courts can connect with no further charge.
To facilitate the connection of the other courts connecting to the OCN the rule has two main components.
First, if a court already has a computer case management system that can send data to the OCN network, then the court shall connect to the system within a year of the rule taking effect.
Second, for those courts that have not adopted an electronic system or who will be changing systems in the future, beginning one year after the passage of the rule, any new system coming online will have to connect to OCN.
Comments will be accepted until December 10 and should be submitted in writing to:
Megan Real Office of Information Technology Supreme Court of Ohio 65 South Front Street, 10th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431 or Megan.Real@sc.ohio.gov
Please include your full name and mailing address in any comments submitted by email.