Big news is emerging from the Peoria County Courthouse these days about the new technological upgrades being implemented in the courtrooms with respect to the County's information systems. Very soon, a beta test will begin linking four randomly chosen courtrooms with the newly purchased hardware and software to bring our local justice system into the modern technological era with respect to case-related information.

In these select courtrooms, Judges and lawyers will be able to instantly access pleadings, schedules, orders, and other vital data relevant to each case as it is called into session by the Court. If all goes well, the system will be fully implemented into all Courtrooms a few months later. Shortly afterward, we may even be able to file our pleadings electronically in the Tenth Judicial Circuit which includes Peoria County as well as the surrounding counties. Now that is real progress!

Kudos to our Judges and administrators for pursuing this system, and particularly our Chief Judge for spearheading the task force to make this happen. Granted, this process is doing nothing more than bringing our local government current with the existing cost-effective technology that is available. Nevertheless, this task is like steering an ocean liner. To understand the daunting nature of this project, we must note that much of our County justice system still operates under an archaic dos-based program (that's right, as in "pre-windows"). Moreover, the overwhelming majority of Illinois Counties are still years behind our own jurisdiction when it comes to this type of technology upgrade. Thank goodness for our forward-thinking administrators.

Those of you who have experienced matters raised in Federal Court know that similar upgrades were made there several years ago, and cases have been administered very smoothly under their system. The new technology not only allows for more fluent and meaningful procedures and trial presentations, but also should result in overall cost savings to clients through more efficient administration and case flow.

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