Court e-fil­ings come to Up­per Shore

Record Observer - - Front Page - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Courts on Mary­land’s Up­per Shore have taken an­other big step for ward in the tech­no­log­i­cal world.

As of July 18, elec­tronic case fil­ing was ex­tended to Queen Anne’s, Ce­cil, Kent, Caro­line, and Tal­bot coun­ties, which means that e-fil­ing will be manda­tory for at­tor­neys fil­ing civil and crim­i­nal cases in Cir­cuit Court, District Court and the state’s ap­pel­late courts, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Ju­di­ciary. It also means that such fil­ings can be done 24/7 from any place that has an In­ter­net con­nec­tion.

Mary­land Elec­tronic Courts (MDEC) mod­ern­izes court pro­cesses and makes it eas­ier for lit­i­gants to file cases, and is fast, easy, and cost-ef­fec­tive., ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Mar yland Ju­di­ciar y.

“This sys­tem is help­ing us elim­i­nate our re­liance on pa­per files, it’s im­prov­ing the trans­fer of records as cases progress through the sys­tem and it’s mak­ing our courts more ac­ces­si­ble to our lit­i­gants,” said Mary Ellen Bar­bera, Chief Judge of the Mary­land Court of Ap­peals, in the state­ment. She is over­see­ing the Ju­di­ciary’s Tech­nol­ogy Over­sight Board as MDEC is ex­panded through­out the state.

The courts will no longer ac­cept pa­per fil­ings from at­tor­neys in ar­eas where MDEC is in place, the Ju­di­ciary state­ment said.

“Judge (Thomas) Ross and I are ver y pleased with our tran­si­tion to Mary­land Elec­tronic Courts, and es­pe­cially the on-site sup­port be­ing pro­vided by

our Ju­di­ciary,” said Scott MacGlashan, Clerk of the Queen Anne’s County Cir­cuit Court. “Chief Judge Bar­bera, (District Court) Chief Judge (John) Mor­ris­sey, and State Court Ad­min­is­tra­tor Pam Har­ris are to be com­mended for the ex­cel­lent plan­ning and train­ing that they have sup­ported and con­tinue to pro­vide.”

MacGlashan said his Chief Deputy Katherine Hager and Queen Anne’s Court Ad­min­is­tra­tor San­dra Smith are work­ing with the court’s staff to “in­sure our to­tal suc­cess and tran­si­tion.”

Cheryl Miller, Ad­min­is­tra­tive Clerk of the Queen Anne’s County District Court, said her staff is very ex­cited about MDEC com­ing to the county.

“This will save at­tor­neys in Mary­land who prac­tice in (Up­per Shore) coun­ties time, as they have re­mote ac­cess to court fil­ings and doc­u­ments through this new au­to­mated case man­age­ment sys­tem,” she said. “Our lo­cal courts can col­lect, store, and process case records elec­tron­i­cally, and they will be able to ac­cess com­plete records instantly as cases travel from District Court to Cir­cuit Court and on to the ap­pel­late courts.”

Miller said it is a “pa­per-on-de­mand” sys­tem and pa­per doc­u­ments will be made avail­able when re­quested.

“We’re proud to be among the first ju­ris­dic­tions where MDEC is im­ple­mented,” she said.

The Mary­land Elec­tronic Courts pro­gram be­gan in Oc­to­ber 2014 in Anne Arun­del County, and the goal is to even­tu­ally have it in all Mary­land ju­ris­dic­tions.

MacGlashan said that once it is in op­er­a­tion in all Mary­land ju­ris­dic­tions, “all cit­i­zens and users will ben­e­fit from the over­all goal of im­prov­ing ac­cess to jus­tice and im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our jus­tice part­ners.”

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

The staff of the Queen Anne’s County Cir­cuit Court dis­play their T-shirts hailing the ex­pan­sion of the Mary­land Elec­tronic Courts sys­tem to the Up­per Shore. Hold­ing his T-shirt in the cen­ter is Cir­cuit Court Judge Thomas Ross.

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