Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire
| For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2019
Criminal cases in Superior Court going electronic
CONCORD – Following the success of its civil filings online, Superior Court criminal cases are also going electronic. The Judicial Branch today announced that Phase One of the program began in Rockingham County Superior Court in early August with a state wide rollout planned for the fall. Following the roll out,
In 2018, some 16,500 cases were filed in New Hampshire’s superior courts, and of those, approximately 10,000 were criminal. In order for all active cases to be subject to e-filing going forward, an estimated 8,000 “paper cases” had to be scanned. This process took place over a five-week period with temporary employees working 1,650 hours to complete the job.
Nadeau added, “Although there is always some anxiety when change occurs, the overall feedback on moving to electronic filing for criminal cases is very positive. All agree that cases will be easier, faster, and more efficient to manage when a lot less paper is involved. Citizens across New Hampshire have come to expect that government should work online, just as other service organizations do. Transitioning to electronic filing, simplifying processes, and reducing paper in the Superior Court is now the way we work.”
Jackie Waters, NH e-Court Program Director, noted that laptops will also play a significant role in criminal cases going forward. She explained, “In order to facilitate filings in criminal cases while they are in a courtroom, attorneys will need to bring their own laptop. Loaner laptops will be available through the clerk’s office to the occasional attorney who may not have one, but their clients will not have direct access to these devices. Once issued, all laptops will be secured in their location, such as a counsel table or conference room table.”
Additionally, all courthouses in the state are now equipped with public kiosks that are located in a central lobby area. Public access to non-confidential criminal case documents will be available, as with all e-filed cases, at all kiosks. Access to documents on the Internet for the general public is under review by the Judicial Branch.
The NH e-Court Program was launched in 2014. The superior court civil and criminal on-line filings now join small claims and guardianships, plus wills and estates cases that are already electronic at the circuit court level. As of June 30 of this year, over 82,000 cases have been electronically filed in New Hampshire courts.