Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Supreme Court Accepting Tech Grant Applications

Image shows a bar chart in various shades of light to medium blue showing 7 years of funding for tech grants

The Supreme Court has emphasized improved local court accessibility and operational versatility during the pandemic with significant increases in tech grant funding.

The Ohio Supreme Court is inviting local courts to apply for grants to upgrade technology.

Introduced in 2015, the grants, offered across the state under the Ohio Courts Technology Initiative, have totaled $32.4 million.

“I started this program seven years ago to help local courts tap into innovations to make the judicial process more efficient and more accessible,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said. “This program is modernizing Ohio’s justice system and providing more access than ever.”

Funding is available to any appeals, common pleas, municipal, or county court for projects that remove barriers to the efficient and effective administration of justice.

Applications for the 2022 program will be accepted electronically through Feb. 16. Grants will be awarded in May.

Funds disbursed during the pandemic have reached nearly $19 million to date, with many of those resources dedicated to remote technology equipment. In total, 488 court technology projects have been financed through the program during COVID.

“In these last two years, we’ve seen how critical it is for all of us to communicate and stay connected with the use of technology. Without these grants, courts would be struggling keep up with their cases and the administration of justice would suffer,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.

Grants for 2022 can be used to buy new, or to upgrade systems, hardware, or equipment for projects, such as:

  • Technology systems that support pretrial services or digital notifications
  • Electronic filing
  • Online payment systems for court costs and fines
  • Case management systems or technology that supports a court’s fundamental duties
  • Courtroom or building security equipment.

The application form and other information is available on the Supreme Court’s website.

The Court will host informational webinars detailing changes in this year’s program, which include a pilot opportunity. Those sessions will be held on Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m. and Jan. 21 at 1:30 p.m. To attend, you can join through the grants section’s webpage.

The needs of the judicial branch in 2020 led the Court to issue emergency grants in 2020 and created a task force to conduct an in-depth review of the circumstances. The Task Force on Improving Court Operations Using Remote Technology, known as iCOURT, examined how technology is being used, and could be improved, during the COVID pandemic, and for the future. The result was nearly 100 recommendations emphasizing the continued use of remote technology and how courts can adopt the various suggestions.

“This period is a prime opportunity for our courts to use the advances we’ve made out of necessity and go even further in enhancing and broadening access to justice in our courts,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.