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Courts

The Lake County court system is scheduled to roll out new software next month to manage its court records.

The county's circuit and superior courts will transition May 21 from the CourtView case management system to the Odyssey case management system, which is supported by the Indiana Supreme Court's Office of Judicial Administration.

Mark Pearman, executive director of Lake County's Data Processing Department, said his team is responsible for working with the state to transfer the court system's financial and case data to the new system.

Pearman said the county currently pays $340,000 annually for the CourtView software. The state will provide the Odyssey software at no cost to the county. The state also has provided the county approximately $300,000 to $400,000 in new computers, printers and scanners to help implement the system.

He said because the data will be stored in Indianapolis, rather than locally, the county likely will pay more for bandwidth to support the new system, but his office has budgeted for the expected costs.

Pearman said court cases can be viewed online at mycase.in.gov beginning May 21. In August, new cases filed with the Lake County Clerk's Office will be scanned into the Odyssey system, Pearman said. The court system is scheduled to switch to a completely paperless record system in January.

“That means no paper will be coming into the courthouse — it will all be e-filed on Odyssey,” he said.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued a policy statement in 2002 supporting the adoption of a unified, statewide case management system. The supreme court said such a system would provide greater public access to the court's records and improve communication among state agencies and the court systems.

Mary DePrez, director and counsel for trial court technology at the Indiana Supreme Court, said the state selected Odyssey as its case management system in 2006. The state pays for the program through an automated record-keeping fee assessed on court filings.

Odyssey currently is used in 282 courts and 65 counties in Indiana, which includes three appellate courts, DePrez said. Approximately 70 percent of the state's cases are currently filed in courts that use the Odyssey system, which includes the court systems in LaPorte and Porter counties, DePrez said.

The Lake County Council voted in December 2015 to approve the court system's transition to Odyssey.

Lake Superior Court Chief Judge John Pera said the new system would eliminate the problem of storing mountains of paperwork. He said the public will be able to access court records online, and attorneys can file paperwork after the clerk's office has already closed.

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Courts and social justice reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.