Justice courts in Maricopa County are getting ready to go high-tech.
Computer automation will make it easier for court staff to access records and enable people to pay fines online.
Court administrators and technology staff members are developing a system to file court cases and track fine payments, said Brian Karth, court administrator for Maricopa County Limited Jurisdiction Courts.
The system will be developed in the next 10 to 12 months for justice courts countywide. Officials hope the system will be online before July, the projected completion date of the consolidated Northeast Valley courthouse in Phoenix, with three justice courts and 12 Superior Court rooms.
Automation will make it easier to access records.
The system also will be capable of notifying state and local agencies for enforcement purposes, Karth said.
"We want it to do automatic reporting to the Department of Public Safety, to the Motor Vehicle Division, things that we now . . . do manually," Karth said.
The system is being developed using existing equipment and programs. Officials hope to secure a state Supreme Court grant to hire two additional programmers, Karth said.
The Supreme Court may implement the Fines and Restitution Enforcement program in local justice courts by mid-2005, officials said.
"This will allow users to make payments via the Internet, or by telephone through their credit cards," Karth said. In some cases, people will be able to pay fines without seeing a judge.
The program is used in Tucson, Show Low and Flagstaff courts, and is being tested in Phoenix Municipal Court, said Karl Heckart, Arizona Supreme Court chief information officer.