The Madison County Courts and Clerk are successfully operating a new 21st-century computer system called “Odyssey,” the Indiana Supreme Court announced Wednesday. Odyssey connects the counties to a continually growing network of courts, clerks, law enforcement and other state agencies. There are currently 77 courts in 26 counties in the state using Odyssey.
The upgrade to Odyssey in Madison County is part of the Indiana Supreme Court’s effort to equip every trial court with a 21st-century case management system. Odyssey connects courts with each other, law enforcement, state agencies and makes court information available over the Internet at no charge.
With Odyssey, an estimated 18,600 new cases filed in Madison County each year will be managed by a state-of-the-art computer system. That includes cases filed in Alexandria City Court which began using Odyssey in January 2010.
Judge Dennis Carroll of the Madison Superior Court explained how the implementation of Odyssey is another step in the county’s continued use of technology to better serve and protect citizens. “We were among the first in the state to use a computerized docket, among the first to use a video link with the jail to reduce transportation costs and enhance security and we were early adopters of supervising non-violent offenders with electronic monitoring. Once again, we are using technology to serve Madison County. Odyssey provides a level of access and transparency that judges of past generations could not have imagined.”
Madison County Clerk Ludy Watkins is equally pleased with the new system and explained, “Our old system was not as user-friendly as Odyssey. The financial program in Odyssey is a huge benefit for the Clerk’s office because we have case history, payment information and the ability to see and print a balance. The training and support provided by the Supreme Court during the installation was superior and I would like to thank all involved.”
Odyssey was first installed in ten Indiana courts on a pilot basis in December 2007 under the direction of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC). Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr., who chairs JTAC, congratulated the Madison County Court and Clerk staff. “This is a major accomplishment and the people of Madison County should be proud of the hard work done by their Clerk and Judges and their staffs to make it happen. Having this advanced technology will mean better service for the county’s citizens, will increase public safety because of its connections to law-enforcement, and because JTAC pays for the computer software, using Odyssey will save money for the county’s taxpayers as well.”
Courts pay no installation costs, training costs, license fees, or annual maintenance costs for Odyssey. Those costs are paid by JTAC from the proceeds of a court filing fee dedicated to the project by the General Assembly. Odyssey is designed to be implemented statewide and is being installed without disrupting everyday court business or closing Indiana courts. Currently, there are 21 different and unrelated court record management systems statewide and these systems do not communicate with each other.
- Odyssey is operating in 77 Indiana courts in 26 counties as of December 2010
- Approximately 30% of all the new cases filed in Indiana are in Odyssey
- The busiest court in the state, Marion County “traffic court,” uses Odyssey
- 582,000 traffic cases have been sent electronically to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles through Odyssey
- 5 counties used typewriters and/or scroll books to manage court records before Odyssey
- Indiana invested $7.7 million in the statewide licensing for Odyssey
- Court information is available through Odyssey free over the Internet at courts.in.gov
Odyssey is just one of the Indiana Supreme Court’s technology improvement initiatives. JTAC is providing Indiana courts and clerks statewide with additional computer resources to assist them in their work to better serve the public.
- JTAC has installed computer software that sends notification of the resolution of traffic cases to the BMV electronically in every Indiana court with traffic infraction jurisdiction.
- State troopers, deputies and police officers in 192 law-enforcement agencies in Indiana are able to use scanners to issue traffic citations and warnings using computer software written by JTAC.
- All 92 Indiana counties have access to a statewide master jury list created by JTAC.
- When judges in Indiana’s 92 counties issue domestic violence protection orders, software written by JTAC is used to notify local law enforcement, Indiana State Police and the FBI.
- Sixty-four Indiana counties and the Department of Health use JTAC technology to eliminate the manual entry of marriage licenses.
- Forty-five Indiana counties and the Department of Revenue use JTAC technology to eliminate the manual entry of tax warrants.
- To implement property tax reforms, juvenile probation officers and the Department of Child Services began using JTAC technology to eliminate handwritten applications being sent to DCS and the agency having to manually enter the data into their system to keep information on children for whom DCS will be financing services.
- JTAC developed technology for trial courts to notify federal authorities electronically about individuals who should not possess a firearm because of mental health problems.
The Indiana Supreme Court has received prestigious national technology and safety awards because of its many projects. The Court is the recipient of the Best Practices Award by the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals, the Governors Highway Safety Association Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award, a National Center for State Courts G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovations and a 2010 Innovations Award from The Council of State Governments. The Court has received these awards in large part because of its close working relationship on technology projects with agencies in the Daniels Administration, including, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the Indiana Office of Technology, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Indiana Department of Revenue, and the Indiana State Police.
For more information on the Indiana Supreme Court’s technology projects visit courts.in.gov/jtac.