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Report of the Judiciary


News from the Judicial Information Services Division


The Judicial Information Services Division provides various support on information technology-based solutions, services and support to the Court organization. The services and support includes user and application support; user training; management and development of systems on both hardware and software; research and development of new technology applicable to the system supporting the mission and goals of the Court. The division often serves as a liaison with other Lake County offices and state agencies. More about the individual functions of the division may be found here.



JIS Contributions to Access to Justice System


At the same time the court’s public facing website was launched in November 2009, the Juror online summons questionnaire submission went live. To date, about 40% of potential jurors use the online summons process. As a prospective juror the online functions provides the ability to:


  • Complete juror questionnaire and profile form online.
  • Request a one time schedule change.
  • Request to be disqualified or excused under certain circumstances (based on specific criteria and documentation requirements)
  • Verify your jury service report date.
  • Update/Change juror Information data


In addition, the Jury imaging system was implemented to support the jurors that are not using the online functionality. The returned questionnaire is scanned into the system and processes the requests.


All criminal, civil, misdemeanor and traffic courtrooms in the main courthouse are now equipped with 59" wall mounted plasma screens, witness monitors, a multimedia podium that allows the litigants to present evidence in a manner that can be viewed by the jurors, witnesses, the judge and the litigants.  


To provide better assistance to the public for location and information, JIS coordinated, developed and implemented an automated phone tree for the juvenile complex and the administrative office at the main courthouse.


JIS implemented the digital ink technology applied to the Pretrial bond reports. Previously, bond reports are done in paper and pen but with this applied technology, all bond reports are now digital and printed in a well formatted report. All data entered is captured and stored in a SQL database. The program allows for computerized bond reports for Courts and stores the reports electronically instead of having paper copies. Over time, this process will continue to support and improve case processing and actual court proceedings in the future.  The reductions of the data entry, readability of the information, possible content reusability and the use of other technologies are the added value to this solution. Enhancements are being made to add the domestic violence form to the digital ink technology and to add the print on demand feature to retrieve existing record. The same technology will be implemented in the Kids' Korner area for their use.


To monitor and track Court projects identified in the SMAART performance management program, JIS customized and installed the ManagePro© software. This software aligns the strategic goals and objectives to the individual court project. This system is still under development. A training overview was conducted and completed in early fall of 2010.


The court adopted the Mobile Security Standards Policy for judicial and non-judicial employees. The employees will be able to connect their mobile devices to sync with their emails in accordance to the policy. The electronic communications policy was updated due to emerging technologies.


JIS configured the tools and devices such as CDs and voice recorder necessary to support the “Read Me a Story” program. This program was implemented in the Juvenile Detention which helps resident youth maintain communications with their children and siblings.



JIS Contributions to Cost Savings, Efficiency & Effectiveness Initiatives


  • Print-less and cost savings initiative:


JIS developed protocols and user training in using the network scanner to eliminate paper copies by digitizing the documents. Availability of scanning document is now used by all divisions. In addition, JIS started transitioning fax machines to a PC based desktop RightFax service. The elimination of older fax machines reduces operational cost from paper, ink, phone line cost and maintenance of the fax machine.


JIS started the development and structure of the “Report of the Judiciary” that will be published in the Court’s website for more up-to-date information. Content managers from each division will update the content on the page accordingly. This replaces the annual report on CD’s and thus a cost saving measures such as time, money, from the design to the actual mailings of the finished product.


The Pretrial Bond Unit is located in a small office by the Lake County Jail. All closed case file are kept in this area and thereby a lack of space became an issue. All closed case files were scanned and uploaded to the existing Onbase technology that is viewable on desktop and eliminating the need to store the hard copy files. Overtime, with the use of the digital ink technology, the convergence of electronic files and no paper use will eventually promote efficiency in the system.


Another resource is conserving energy for the safety of the desktops and monitors. JIS instituted a reminder to all users that at the end of the day, users are recommended to turn off monitors and shutdown the workstations. JIs will continue to send notifications to all users. 


JIS promotes the ink recycle program. JIS collects all used ink cartridges from the network printers from all locations and bring it to the nearest Staples area. This is a rewards program that provides points that JIS can

use to purchase supplies through Staples.


  • Streamlining Process:


In March 2010, JIS implemented a new Adult Probation Case Management system - Caseload Explorer. This system allows a probation officer to process, manage cases, supervise and track client’s progress, court ordered conditions, community service and any other caseload functionality from Pretrial release through probation release or termination. Since the implementation of the system, the Adult Probation division created a focus committee to assist with providing consistent and timely training for officers. The focus group provides a systematic approach to case management and information sharing as well as developing consistency in data entry. JIS played a big role in assisting and supporting the user group in promoting efficiency, ease of use and streamlining the process. In addition, JIS standardized the client photo processing and gets uploaded into Caseload Explorer. Additional enhancement is underway.


The Juvenile Probation & Detention Services created a focus group in relation with their case management system – Tracker, to address improvement and expansion of database usage, effectively decreased duplication of effort and maximized use of existing technology, thus reducing costs and improving data entry quality. The Juvenile Probation officers are actively utilizing the system to record case notes, schedule appointments and contacts, social investigation, review reports and other critical information. JIS assisted in the workflow business process, user training, and following the next steps in utilizing the full functionality of the system. These groups meets on a regular basis and have developed protocols on how to use the contact logging of the system thereby eliminating the hard bound log books. This is a continuing process and enhancements are on-going.


With assistance from JIS staff, a process for photographing detention and probation youth has been fully designed, and cameras and software have been installed. Staff has been trained and the Intake unit routinely photographs youth during the intake process for internal reference only.


After the assessment and requirements of the Detention Center and FACE-IT educational programming, the division decided to use the browser-based curriculum system - APEX. JIS configured and implemented 39 thin-client workstations connected to a stand-alone local area network for use of students, teachers and staff. The system is using an internet based subscription connections. Staff participated in a two-day training session to facilitate proper utilization of the new curriculum.


JIS configured and implemented West KM Government Express and Brief Tools to allow staff attorneys to search internal documents by keywords, KeyCites and phrases using West indexing feature. This tool also allows internal documents to be linked to the external Westlaw site to include opinions, citations, case law and other available documents. To date, five users use the tool in their day-to-day functions.


The automated training verification system was developed in-house and became fully functional. The system is a browser-based system that allows the employee to submit training information and gets routed to their supervisor for approval. It also allows the employee to evaluate the training and is submitted through a separate database for future reference. This eliminates the submission of training records in paper. In addition, for a larger group of training, JIS instituted the use of a bar code reader scanner to scan the employee’s ID badge to record attendance. The system was used at several in-house training events. These initiatives improved recordkeeping and will allow supervisors to ensure that staff meet all training requirements. JIS added and developed a web-based training evaluation form in order to enhance the level of feedback from training participants.


The Law Library cataloging software was upgraded to accommodate web publishing both internal and the public facing website. To date, updates to all library materials and resources are in progress.


The digital pen and voice recognition technology is being in the pilot stage and tested by judges and some probation officers in support of their work.


The Judges Bench Book and Resource Guide on technological resources are updated on a regular basis. JIS also developed and implemented an online form for the Judicial Speakers Bureau to eliminate paper copies and for ease of reporting to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts.


JIS developed and implemented the Automated Incident Reporting System (AIRS) for Court’s use. Enhancements were added shortly after the roll-out last May 2010 that includes attaching files or documents.


Video conferencing using Skype and other video conferencing technology are being pilot tested. The testing started with the Drug Court to reduce and eliminate service provider traveling from Chicago to Lake County Courthouse, thus saving time and energy. This Technology is also being tested in other courtrooms as the need arises. JIS is continuing to pursue the use of video conferencing and its capability.


JIS use the ArcGIS mapping software to plot probation, compliance, pretrial and juvenile data. This is for internal use and reference only that allows the officers to view the map. This technology will be reviewed at a later time for further development and appropriate use.



JIS Contributions to Safety and Security of Technology Resources


A comprehensive approach is vital to securing information and technology resources at every level and adhering to compliance issues. Partnerships allow the Information Technology division to explore emerging technologies and create innovative solutions for the 19th Judicial Circuit.


JIS completed the COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) IT & Communications plan as part of the Court’s emergency preparedness and COOP plan. As part of this plan, JIS developed a disaster recovery plan and procedure. This plan is reviewed and maintained as stated accordingly in the plan.


JIS compiled all contents of the COOP and digitized the binder and made it available in USB flash drives to authorize personnel. As part of the COOP plan, JIS use the GIS data mapping of all personnel for reference and information if and when a disaster strikes.


With the assistance of Facilities Operations, the Court’s file server room is now equipped with two liebert a/c units and emergency power connection. This will provide protection to the equipment installed in this room.


JIS Help Desk extend their assistance to a 24/7 support. The staff is assigned on a regular rotating schedule. The Helpdesk software is maintained and updated on a regular basis.


JIS started the server realignment and backup reconfiguration. JIS initiated and started utilizing server virtualization with the assistance of County IT resources. This is a cost effective use of hardware and utilization of shared resources. This strategy will continue to reduce redundancy and efficiency of systems and maintenance of servers, desktops and other peripherals.



JIS Contributions to Communication and Training Services


JIS continued to offer multimedia technology training to members of the Lake County Bar, State’s Attorney, Public Defender and all other agencies that have requirements to use the equipment.


JIS continue to pursue technology training offerings to judges and court staff to provide them with technical skills and knowledge of available resources.


JIS is testing the deployment of the Windows 7 operating system with Microsoft Office 2010 to selected users. JIS deployed training materials to the users that would like to compare previous version of MS Office with MS Office 2010. The tool is interactive that allows the user to see and compare the functionality.


JIS will continue to assist and request for Westlaw webinars for judges and library staff offered throughout the year.


JIS continue to provide technical assistance to user(s) using our JIS Help Desk on a one-on-one basis or a webinar type of training. JIS plans to institute a “Lunch n’ Learn” setting to all campuses such as the Juvenile Facility, Adult Probation building and the main courthouse for any new or existing technology.  

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News from the Judicial Information Services Division