Clerk of Courts
The below lists the major accomplishments my amazing staff achieved during the course of a calendar year as submitted to the York County budget team and the Board of Commissioners. However much, much more is accomplished on a daily basis making us one of the best Clerk of Courts offices in the entire Commonwealth! In reading through the below you’ll note two major themes throughout – collections enforcement and document imaging.
When I ran for this office I campaigned on a platform Accountability, Customer Service, and Technology. In terms of accountability we have focused on the collection of costs, fines and restitution owed by criminal defendants.
In 2003, the year prior to taking office, the Costs & Fines unit collected $4.2 million. In 2010 Costs & Fines collected $9.3 million – a $5.1 million increase! How? Collections enforcement via overdue notices to defendants delinquent on their payment plans, driver license suspensions for those delinquent on driver related offenses/assessments, referral to third party collections agencies, and cost contempt hearings before the Court.
And prior to becoming Clerk of Courts the office had minimal technology and an aging mainframe like docketing system that could no longer be supported. This office became the first large county after the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) paused the rollout due to technical difficulties of a new statewide docketing system – the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS) – to pilot the improved version of the system. Subsequently we began our imaging initiative and now capture all filings within a 4 hour window making them instantly available to computer users within the Judicial Center, private defense attorneys, and police departments.
We’ve come a long way and again thanks and credit go to the incredible people who put their skills and talents to work for the people of York County and the Common Pleas Court. I’m always grateful for their efforts and proud to call them my team!
Clerk of Courts
Judicial Center Move - Seamlessly and successfully moved 30,000 case files and hundreds of evidence exhibits from the York County Courthouse to the new York County Judicial Center. Electronically cataloged all evidence via an Excel spreadsheet for the first time to ensure the chain of custody and accountability for all exhibits.
Technology Upgrades - Purchased new computers for all the staff replacing outdated hardware and software to ensure compatibility with the new statewide Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS) maintained by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). Provided email accounts for all staff for the first time. Purchases funded by grant dollars received via the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Clerk of Courts' automation fund - $5 per case filing fee paid by criminal defendants and other petitioners.
Training- Provided training to all Clerk of Courts' staff members on the Windows desktop operating system with an overview of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook email.
Case Management System - in late 2004, in partnership with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and York County Information Services the Clerk of Courts office migrated docketing and financial data from the County's legacy system - Lightspeed - to the new statewide application known as the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS). As the first large county to use CPCMS, the York County Clerk of Courts became a model for the Lessons Learned document. York County staff also shared experiences and best practices with other counties transitioning to CPCMS.
Document Imaging- significant first steps taken toward implementing document imaging with the installation of a server, two scanners and associated personal computers.
Filings - came into compliance with Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure No. 124 by shifting from 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches file folders to 8 1/2 inch by 11 inches resulting in significant cost savings to York County taxpayers.
Document Imaging - Initiated the electronic capture or imaging of all documents filed in 2006. Also undertook legacy or back scanning beginning with year 2000 case files. This initiative will provide a complete, electronic record for all Criminal, Juvenile, Summary Appeal and Miscellaneous Docket files representing 4 million plus documents. Once completed, the imaging application - Laserfiche - will provide convenient, easily accessible images for every document filed with the Clerk of Courts from the year 2000 forward.
Collections Enforcement - Mailed 13,000 + overdue notices to defendants with delinquent accounts representing $9.8 million in outstanding costs, fines and restitution. Past due collections efforts generated an additional $300,000 in County costs revenue as of June 2006 over the prior year to the County of York.
Document Imaging - Continued to scan or electronically capture all incoming filings and achieved legacy or back scanning of 2000 and 2001 case files. Began back scanning of the year 2005 case files. As of August 2007 the Records Unit staff and vendor staff imaged 883,776 document pages. In partnership with our imaging vendor, DocuScan, we have trained a total of 200+ staff to include the Bench. Currently 439 County employees in court appointed/related departments access and use the imaging application -
Laserfiche - greatly enhancing access to criminal court filings and contributing to the overall efficiency of the Court.
Collections Enforcement- Mailed 26,146 overdue notices. Suspended - for the first time - 117 driver licenses for unpaid costs and fines on driver related offenses. Restored 29 driver licenses for cases paid in full or coming into compliance with a payment plan.
Collections Enforcement- continued to partner with Adult Probation in developing and refining the collections enforcement process. Approximately 21,000 electronic payment plans have been created in the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS). 2,200 new electronic payment plans were created on older cases with no prior electronic payment plan. Approximately 11,500 cases remain without any electronic payment plan created. Mailed over 21,000 overdue notices as of August 2008, suspended 137 driver licenses for defendants failure to pay on driver related offenses/assessments, restored 63 driver licenses for defendants coming into payment plan compliance, filed 1,098 civil judgments and satisfied 226 judgments.
Document Imaging- on target to image over 1.1 million pages in 2008. Years 2000, 2002, 2005 to present case files have been electronically scanned and available via the Laserfiche imaging application to over 400 internal users greatly enhancing access to vital court filings and the overall efficiency of the Court. Piloted external access to private attorneys (Kearney & Marshall and Attorney Leslie) with plans to expand to all interested attorneys/law firms in September/October 2008 timeframe.
Uploading of Informations/Charges-worked with the York County District Attorney and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to electronically upload Informations or charges into CPCMS providing real time and accurate charges filed by the DA and eliminating redundant data entry by deputy clerks saving approximately 20-25 hours per week in labor.
Electronic Warrants- on January 28, 2008, CPCMS began transmitting warrants generated within CPCMS to CLEAN and NCIC electronically. York County followed in July 2008 electronically transmitting CPCMS generated warrants to the local York County warrants database - Missile - providing for real time warrant information in both the statewide/national and local databases.
Evidence- installed security cameras in the Records Unit to provide 24/7 surveillance of evidence lockers/vault. Completed inventory of all evidence and data entered all exhibits to include location, max sentence and other critical case details into the Property Room Inventory Management System (PRIMS).
Juvenile Dependency Module - implemented AOPC's CPCMS automated Dependency tracking system as of September 15, 2008. The module is designed to improve Family and Dependency Court reporting to gain a better understanding of what happens with children and families involved with the Court. York County specific efforts include training completion, use of the CPCMS Dependency module, implementation of new statewide standard forms, and the addition of the "DP" docket type in the Laserfiche system.
Collections Enforcement-approximately 22,735 electronic payment plans exist within the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS). In April of 2008 14,000+ cases were without payment plans. As of August 2009 Costs & Fines collections staff reduced that number to 7,512. Payment plan delinquency is down from 71.06% in August 2008 to 52.31% in August 2009 - an 18.75% drop in delinquency!
Document Imaging-imaged 1.3 million pages in 2009. Completed the back scanning project and now have a complete electronic library of case filings from 2000 to present. Expanded external access to 13 attorneys/law firms, all 19 district courts and the York City Police Department. Real time document scanning time improved due to upgrades in document batch header creation program. Staff now use a bar code gun that eliminates 17 mouse clicks and 21 keystrokes for each batch header sheet created
Collections Enforcement- maintained the Collections Enforcement initiative exclusively for non-supervised defendants following the elimination of the Adult Probation Collections Enforcement Unit. 24,635 payment plans have been established. 9,523 are enforced by Adult Probation for supervised defendants; 9,563 are enforced by Costs &
Fines and 5,279 - representing almost $10.1 million have been referred to a third party collections vendor. In April 2008 14,000+ cases were without payment plans. In August 2009, thanks to the efforts of the Costs & Fines staff, that number dropped to 7,512. As of August 16, 2010, that number is down to 3,517 representing just over $2.1 million owed. Active payment plan delinquency (overdue 90+ days) continues to be down from 71.05% in August 2008 to 49.32% as of August 16, 2010. Overall delinquency rate is 55.52%. Mailed overdue notices on 17,611 cases as of August. Suspended 585 driver licenses as of August 2008 and restored 216 driver licenses for payment plan compliance - $98,387.86 YTD from driver license suspensions alone. Filed 1,448 civil judgments and satisfied 142 civil judgments YTD. Petitioned/scheduled 367 cost contempt hearings to date. $18,501.39 collected as a direct result of cost contempt hearings.
Document Imaging- significant contributor to the County's recognition as a finalist for the AIIM Carl E. Nelson Best Practice Award and feature article in ECM Connections magazine. Imaged over 1.2 million pages representing approximately 300,000 filings. Assisted Adult Probation and the Public Defender to place bar codes on filings to expedite the imaging process and reduce user error. Held multiple Laserfiche imaging application end user training to include local police departments (Spring Garden Twp PD, Hellam Twp PD, Southern Regional PD, Fairview Twp PD - 7 total local police departments now have access), local attorneys, and internal users to include a series specifically for the "JV" juvenile docket type. There are now 718 registered Laserfiche users. Installed two document classification licenses allowing for greater flexibility in scanning multiple document types and routing of bail to YCP via the optical mark queue.
Form Orders- worked with the Court and court related departments to develop and implement form Orders in the Criminal Division. Form Orders are designed to provide immediate service to all parties eliminating the need for the transcribed Orders and postage costs.
Outlook 2007 Upgrade- implemented ensuring continued capability to email documents from Laserfiche. Now emailing vs. snail mail (eliminating postage costs) requested documents to the PA Department of Corrections and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Additionally members of the public can receive documents electronically in regard to on-line records request.
Collections Enforcement- Costs & Fines (C&F) actively enforces approximately 7,000 electronic payment plans. Adult Probation is responsible for approximately 11,000 payment plans for defendants currently on supervision. Credit Management Company (CMC) - the County's third party collections vendor - is responsible for approximately 8,000 payment plans on a total of 25,000+ payment plans maintained at the Common Pleas level. In April of 2008 14,000+ cases were without electronic payment plans established. As of December 30, 2011, that number was reduced to 416 cases still awaiting adjudication. C&F Collections Enforcement Unit (CEU) staff suspended 716 licenses on driver related offenses as of and restored 408 licenses collecting $210,514.25 in initial/balloon or final payments. C&F CEU filed 3,318 civil judgments and satisfied 610 judgments collecting $507,696.07 in final payments. C&F CEU mailed overdue notices on 23,078 overdue cases. C&F CEU petitioned and held 504 cost contempt hearings collecting $118,000+ as of March 2012.
Document Imaging- worked with York County Information Services and Extract Systems, redaction vendor, to install ID Shield to redact personal identifiers - Social Security Numbers and Driver License Numbers – totaling more than a half million redactions. Records Unit staff captured 1,227,997 images. Vendor and IT staff installed two additional classification licenses to speed the imaging process.
Dependency Court- actively working with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), York County Children, Youth and Families, and Judge Musti Cook to correct dependency data within CPCMS. In March 2011 CPCMS listed 294 cases in "junk buckets" and as of the first quarter of 2012 that number was reduced to 5.
Confinement Data- identified 2,000+ defendants listed as overdue on their electronic payment plan and confined to prison. Identified and corrected 60% of those as no longer confined. Judicial Services staff are working with AOPC, York County Prison and the Pennsylvania Justice Network to prevent incorrect confinement data going forward.