OH courts to put all records online

Move will enable courts to be fully apprised of prior convictions, improve research. Cost will be $10.5 million over two years.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

The Ohio Supreme Court is is the process of launching a website that will centralize all of Ohio's legal records into a one-stop records retrieval site, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The website, the Ohio Courts Network will consolidate all 385 Ohio court records - from the high court down through the municipals.

"Ohio cannot afford not to do this," said Chris Davey, spokesman for Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. "Under the current system, a person could commit domestic violence in Cuyahoga County and move to Medina County, and the courts would not have 100 percent ability to know about that previous offense."

The Ohio Courts Network has been in the works since 2003, but got a push forward when Gov. Ted Strickland included the idea in his state budget lineup.

Cost to start and maintain the site has been estimated to be $10.5 million over the next two years.

"There are some downsides, one being standards for privacy issues," said Mark Schweikert, a retired Hamilton County judge and now executive director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, which backs the network.

"You have to think about putting things on the Internet as publishing," he said. "So there is debate as to whether an Internet network is a publication or access tool."

"The logistics will be difficult," said Keith Hurley, chief deputy of the Cuyahoga County clerk of courts. "I think it makes perfect sense to do it, but I think there will be a lot of issues to figure out because every one of us has a different case management system."
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