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Sunday, May 1, 2016

State ends court software test

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Clay County was described by former Circuit Judge Ernest Yelton as the guinea pig for a new computer system designed to link Indiana's courts. That was in December 2003.

Now, state officials have terminated the software contract with Computer Associates International.

The decision to end the work by Computer Associates International came after court staffers found its software was unable to track the status and outcome of criminal and civil cases throughout the some 400 courts around the state.

As part of the termination, Computer Associates agreed to refund $7 million, $1 million more than it had been paid by the state, said Mary DePrez, who oversees the project for the Indiana Supreme Court's Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC).

Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates said in a written statement that the agreement allows the project to go forward with a contractor better suited to the state's needs.

DePrez said the Supreme Court would within 30 days announce new plans for coordinating the state's courts, some of which rely on decades-old computers or even typewriters for their recordkeeping.

The planned system was to help judges research criminal history in other counties as they make bond and sentencing decisions; allow more residents to access court records online; and connect the courts with other agencies, such as the state prison system and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In June 2004, Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall T. Sheppard and Indiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. joined local officials to present the system. Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers, Yelton and County Clerk Mary Brown were present.

As The Brazil Times reported, Clay was one of the last Indiana counties to use a manual filing system. The fact that there was no software to change over was a factor in JTAC's decision to test the CMS at the Clay County Courthouse. For the few counties still under a manual system, the software will provide a much more efficient, easy-to-manage filing program that make it harder to lose important documents.

JTAC representatives monitored the use of the software in the courthouse, helping employees learn their way around it and making note of glitches. It was not known Wednesday if Clay County glitches led to the decision to cancel Computer Associates' contract. However, several months ago, it became obvious problems were present.

"They worked with us up until a few months before Judge Yelton left," County Clerk Deputy Beth Mallinak told The Brazil Times on Wednesday. "Then, we were hearing nothing."

Upon hearing the state had canceled the contract with Computer Associates, Mallinak responded, "That's good."

But on the day the system was unveiled at Brazil, more than a year ago, Judge Yelton had high hopes.

"We consider this an extreme honor," he said.

Judge Yelton resigned as Circuit Court Judge earlier this year to become Indiana's gaming commissioner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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