DATE: April 28, 2004                                      CONTACT: Laura Kiernan
                                                                                            Court Public Information Officer 





CONCORD—Senior Associate Justice John T. Broderick Jr. of the New Hampshire Supreme Court announced today that the Judicial Branch has signed a $1.9 million contract with Tyler Technologies Inc. of Dallas, Texas to provide the state’s trial courts with a case management system that for the first time will allow judges and staff to share information and documents electronically among the 65 trial courts in 43 locations around the state.

          “This is a giant step forward in our effort to modernize our court system so that we can provide the most efficient services to New Hampshire citizens,”  Justice Broderick said.

          “An up-to-date case management system is an essential tool for the effective administration of justice. It paves the way for enhanced public access to information and electronic filing and it will give us the management information we need to better evaluate our own work and allocation of scarce resources,” Broderick added.

          Tyler’s “Odyssey Case Manager” is a state-of-the-art WEB-based information storage and retrieval system that will replace the court system’s long-outdated, DOS-based, information storage system which the state’s trial courts have used since the late 1980s.

           The long-awaited update of the judicial branch computer systems was made possible by a $3.5 million appropriation in 2001 from the New Hampshire legislature. That appropriation allowed the courts to begin conversion to a Windows-based operating system from DOS, which was completed in 2003. It also provided funds for installation of the updated hardware needed to provide the court staff with the computer speed and memory needed to support Windows, and ultimately the modern case management system.

          “Our lawmakers recognized that we needed to move the court system’s information technology system into the 21st century in order to meet the expectations of our constituents who want high quality service and ready access to information,” said Donald D. Goodnow, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, which conducted the nationwide search for the case management system vendor.

          The specifications and requirements for New Hampshire’s new case management system were first prepared by the National Center for State Courts, based in Williamsburg, Va., which is the nation’s leading non-profit institution providing guidance to state courts on technology and court operations. The NCSC, which participated in competitive bidding for that $33,400 preliminary contract, has been involved in trial court case management systems around the country.

          Once the NCSC consultant’s prepared the specifications, the AOC solicited proposals from vendors around the country to adapt existing case management software to meet New Hampshire’s needs.

          “We carefully researched a number of vendors and we are confident that the Tyler information management product will allow our trial courts to deliver excellent service to the citizens of New Hampshire as our state constitution requires us to do,” Goodnow said. Tyler’s “Odyssey Case Manager” is currently used in state courts in Minnesota and Florida.

          Odyssey will provide the New Hampshire court system with the opportunity to automate all case management functions – imaging, accounting, docketing, calendaring, reporting, and others – for multiple case types, in a single software package.

          Court administrators expect the full installation of the case management system in the Superior, District and Probate Courts will take at least two years. The Supreme Court installed a separate appellate case management system in 2002. At the trial court level, the system will be installed one site at a time, beginning in Concord District Court. The project will be supervised by the court’s information technology manager, Thomas Edwards.

          In addition to making it possible for electronic sharing of documents among court sites, the “Odyssey Case Manager” will also allow for enhanced exchange of documents and information with the Department of Safety, the Attorney General and the Department of Corrections.

          The new case management system in the trial courts will also allow the court system to obtain management data that will enable court managers to better assess workloads and allocation of resources. The upgrade also means that the courts will be able to provide more complete information to policy making legislative committees.