GF County Courthouse drops paper files, goes electronic
The Grand Forks County courthouse starts a paperless chapter today with its switch to electronic case files. Since last spring, court officials have been preparing for the changeover, which involves replacing a 20-year-old computer system that wa...
The Grand Forks County courthouse starts a paperless chapter today with its switch to electronic case files.
Since last spring, court officials have been preparing for the changeover, which involves replacing a 20-year-old computer system that was supplemented by paper files.
"We had an old, cumbersome system, and the change was really needed," court administrator Dennis Herbeck said.
Along with Grand Forks County -- Nelson, Walsh, Ramsey, Benson, Pierce, McHenry, Renville, Bottineau, Rolette, Towner, Cavalier and Pembina counties were set to make the same transformation today.
Fourteen counties in southeastern North Dakota, including Fargo's Cass County, have already adapted the system without problems, project manager Jim Gienger said.
"It's gone really well. We've never had a false start," Gienger said. "All the scheduled hearings were held. They just didn't miss a beat."
The entire state District Court system is expected to be paperless by April. The change, which encompasses hundreds of thousands of files statewide, was budgeted to cost $8.3 million over two years, but Gienger says that so far, the effort is under budget by nearly 10 percent.
Aside from saving paper, the new system will allow people to pay tickets more easily, Herbeck said. "It should be more of a one-stop deal if you want to plead guilty to that offense," he said.
Starting Feb. 1 in Grand Forks County, state District Court fees can be paid on the Web, Gienger and Herbeck said.
The system is also touted as a boon for lawyers who should have more access to court documents and be able to file them more quickly. On Dec. 1, attorneys will be able to electronically file documents in Grand Forks' state District Court, they said.
The system is hosted on servers in Bismarck and is backed up daily, Gienger said.
"If we ever had an outage, we can certainly restore," he said.
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