Court Management, Financial Systems, and Statistical Reporting - Annual Report 2013
The Next Generation of Electronic Case Management System Advances
The Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system revolutionized the way federal courts manage their cases and documents. Now, the transition to a Next Generation of the CM/ECF system is well under way. AO staff are working on NextGen’s design, coding, testing, and implementation planning. They are assisted by 30 court staff who are working on the project under the Court/AO Exchange Program and by expert panels of judges and court staff who are providing advice on the design and development. The project’s goals are to improve efficiency and integration among the appellate, district, and bankruptcy systems; achieve greater consistency, especially for external users; collect more case-related statistics; and be able to share data with other Judiciary systems. The initial schedule calls for the first NextGen release to be available to the courts in late 2014, followed by full transition over several years to the complete NextGen product.
Central Violations Bureau Continues Move to Electronic Ticketing
Because the military issues about half of all notices involving petty offenses committed on federal property, the national Central Violations Bureau (CVB) is trying to reduce costs by expanding the electronic processing of violation notices and fine payments on military bases. Its current efforts are focused on Fort Detrick in Maryland. Electronic ticketing is already in use at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and by the U.S. Forest Service. Officers use a small portable device to capture personal information from the magnetic strip on a driver’s license, select the appropriate charge(s), then have the defendant sign a digital pad, eliminating the need for writing out the ticket. The officer then prints a copy of the violation notice. The data, along with copies of the violation notice, are transferred electronically to the CVB, where the information is processed. The CVB processes an average of 300,000 violation notices per year. Of the approximately $25 million that CVB collects annually in fines, forfeitures, and processing fees, $20 million is deposited in the Crime Victims Fund.
New Financial Systems Updated and Adopted
- JIFMS: In August 2013, the Judiciary Integrated Financial Management System (JIFMS) was deployed to the Administrative Office, the Court of International Trade, the Court of Federal Claims, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This deployment established the foundation for migrating, over the next few years, other court units and the federal public defender offices from the legacy system, the Financial Accounting Systems for Tomorrow (FAS4T). These migrations will continue to streamline financial operations, eliminate costly interfaces, improve data security and controls, and enable the Judiciary to implement financial management best practices. Once fully implemented, JIFMS will integrate most of the Judiciary’s financial, budget, procurement, and accounting functions.
- JFinSys: In addition to JIFMS migrations, progress has been made to modernize other legacy financial systems used in the Judiciary. Thirty-three bankruptcy courts have adopted JFinSys to maintain case financial details. JFinSys replaced FinSys, a legacy DOS system, with a more reliable, cross-platform, hosted system which employs a Services Oriented Architecture to interact with the Judiciary’s Case Management System.
- CRIS: In February 2013, the AO converted 30 of the courts using the Court Online Banking system application for court registry funds to the Court Registry Investment System (CRIS). The new system gives courts greater flexibility in defining their operations and enhances their reporting ability. The AO manages more than $1.9 billion in registry funds for 98 courts in more than 3,300 cases. The funds are invested in Treasury’s Government Account Series securities.
Updated Online Budget Training Rolled out for the Courts
The AO now offers a new eLearning Program, “Appropriations Law for the U.S. Courts.” The course is aimed at newly appointed court unit executives, court staff seeking delegated procurement authority, and all Judiciary employees managing appropriated funds. The course also can be used by experienced staff needing to keep up with continuing education requirements of Contracting Officer Certification Programs.
Transition to NewSTATS Continues
The New Streamline Timely Access to Statistics (NewSTATS) project is a multi-year effort to replace the Judiciary’s legacy statistical system with a robust data warehouse using business intelligence tools to collect, process, analyze, and report court caseload data. In 2013, the Delayed Notice Search Warrant and Magistrate Judge Statistics Through Automated Records functionality were transferred into NewSTATS, making it the system of record for these systems, as well as criminal, Civil Justice Reform Act, and civil case data from the district courts, and case and adversary proceedings data from the bankruptcy courts. Work to migrate the appellate and district court trial statistics into NewSTATS is well under way.