Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court Awards $8.6 Million in Tech Grants to Local Courts

Image of a bar graph showing total tech grant amounts from 2015 to 2021

Ohio courts are receiving more than $8.6 million in technology grant funding this year.

Image of a bar graph showing total tech grant amounts from 2015 to 2021

Ohio courts are receiving more than $8.6 million in technology grant funding this year.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced today that 143 local court projects are receiving more than $8.6 million in this year’s technology grant funding through the Ohio Supreme Court.

This is the seventh year of disbursements since Chief Justice O’Connor initiated the annual Ohio Courts Technology Initiative program, with just over $27 million in technical improvements being received by courts across Ohio.

Case management upgrades and security improvements are among the local projects this year.

Due to the pandemic, there were two sets of awards last year. The regular annual disbursement in January was $3.2 million. The chief justice followed with another $6 million emergency payout from March to May due to the pandemic and the need for courts to install remote technology.

“During COVID, Ohio courts needed upgraded technology more than ever,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “If this pandemic taught us anything, it’s that remote technology is crucial to ensuring our courts are open for those who need to be there, and for the public and the press to be afforded virtual access to court sessions.”

The Akron Municipal Court received $76,044.58 to upgrade audio equipment and to install a digital sign in its courthouse lobby.

“We share our building with the Akron Police Department and if a court user is new to our building, it can be overwhelming as they find their way to their designated courtroom,” Administrative Judge Ron Cable said. “Adding digital signage to our lobby will offer interested parties and justice partners key information upon their arrival.”

“Upgrading our audio equipment will grant us the ability to better serve the hearing impaired and retain recordings. Our current audio devices,” he said, are “roughly 44,000 cases old.”

Ohio appeals, common pleas, municipal, and county courts are encouraged each year to apply for grants to upgrade systems, hardware or equipment, or purchase new ones.

Projects selected for funding were scored by a 36-member panel of judges, court administrators, clerks, information technology professionals, security experts, and other personnel from local courts across the state.

For this seventh annual round of funding, preference was given to projects in this order of priority:

  1. New or major upgrades to a case management system that improves case flow or public access
  2. Updates to CMS or additional modules -- such as paperless, e-filing, next-level software upgrades -- that improve case flow or the fundamental duties of the court and improve public access
  3. Systems or applications other than CMS that support the continued use of remote technology after the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include digital recording; assisted listening or interpretation systems; imaging; kiosks and equipment that support court processes; and the link through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
  4. Upgrade, replacement, or purchase of systems that support pretrial services, including risk assessment and digital notification that may include email and text alerts to reduce failure to appear by defendants.
  5. All other computer hardware, software or equipment that are non-security related.
  6. Courtroom or related building security equipment upgrades and new installations.

The Ohio Courts Technology Initiative was established in 2015 to improve the exchange of information and warehousing of data by and between Ohio courts and other justice system partners, an endeavor that includes the Ohio Courts Network.

Including this year, the technology grants from the Supreme Court have helped fund more than 650 projects in Ohio.

View the complete list of 2021 grants.

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