­­Pilot counties eye paperless courts

Published 4:30 pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

Aimee McCormack, judicial calendar clerk, sifts through the tightly packed court files in court administration Friday at the Law Enforcement Center in Austin. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

ST. PAUL — Eight courts have been selected to lead Minnesota’s court system into the 21st Century.

The counties will be the first to pilot a switch to paperless courts as part of the eCourtMN initiative.

The Minnesota Judicial Council is requiring all courts go paperless in about five years, but the change will go in phases.

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Minnesota’s courts will transition to paperless by imaging closed and active case files and electronic filing (e-filing) in new cases.

State Court Administrator Sue K. Dosal, who was charged by the Judicial Council with overseeing the eCourtMN initiative, has called it “the most comprehensive work reengineering effort ever undertaken by the Judicial Branch.”

According to 3rd Judicial District Judge Donald Rysavy, the counties will start by imaging active and closed cases for e-filing. When the pilot counties shift into filing new documents and teaching attorneys and law enforcement how to use the system, additional counties will then begin the imaging phase. With the staggered approach, Rysavy said the hope is the bugs will be worked out of the system by the time the bulk of the counties come online.

Rysavy, who served on the steering committee for eCourtMN, previously said it will take a minimum of two to three years before courts are eliminating stored paper documents in favor of online documents.


eCourtMN pilot counties:


*Ramsey and Hennepin counties have already been operating a pilot project that allows for the voluntary e-filing of civil cases.