For now, the Leavenworth County court system is only piloting an electronic filing system. But the court administrator believes paper files eventually will be a thing of the past for the local courts.
Steve Crossland, 1st Judicial District court administrator, said Leavenworth County District Court is piloting an e-filing system as part of a project funded through the Kansas Supreme Court.
He said Leavenworth County District Court is the first pilot court in the state using the system. But other piloting courts will be coming online as the year progresses.
“We started the project about three weeks ago,” he said.
For now, three law firms are serving as the test filers for the pilot project in Leavenworth County. Crossland said the law firms are not local but handle cases such as collections and mortgage foreclosures in Leavenworth County District Court.
He said the firms are electronically submitting documents in selected civil proceedings instead of sending them by fax or mail or filing them in person.
“They won’t be converted to paper,” he said of the electronically submitted documents.
Crossland said the pilot program is small.
“But it’s a good way to get our feet wet with it,” he said.
Crossland said the program is using new software, and he admitted it still has some bugs.
He anticipates the program gradually will be expanded to include all manner of legal filings and pleadings.
But he said it will take some time before paper files go away.
Crossland said there is a backup system in place to safeguard against the loss of electronic court files.
Even if paper files become a thing of the past, court documents still will be available for the public, Crossland said.
The Leavenworth County District Court Clerk’s Office at the Justice Center already has computers set up that allow members of the public to access information about cases including documents that have been electronically scanned.
Leavenworth County is in the 1st Judicial District. And the 1st Judicial District includes Atchison County. But Atchison County District Court currently is not part of the pilot project, Crossland said.
In his 2013 State of the Judiciary Report, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss states that additional legislative funding is being sought for fiscal year 2014 to allow for statewide implementation of an electronic filing system by the end of the calendar year 2015.
“The Supreme Court ultimately intends to develop and implement a complete centralized statewide e-courts environment,” Nuss wrote in the report, which was delivered to state legislators Thursday.