Web Extra

March 20 - 26, 1997

Maricopa County Superior Court documents go online--well, sort of.

In a welcomed move, the Maricopa County Superior Court has put its records online. Well, some of them.

Computer visitors to the court's Web site can now access dockets dating back 10 years. Dial-up users will probably have an easier--but long--time accessing the information than those working off corporate servers (certain firewall configurations can cause an alert message of "Unable to establish a network connection at this time." "This time" turns out to be all the time.) Court administrators have no immediate plans to change this, saying that the current configuration works for most users. In order to use the site, visitors should have the most recent versions of Netscape and Microsoft Explorer. The Browsers must be java enabled to run the program.

The court's eventual plan is to put all records online, including filed cases and supporting documents. But it will most likely be the next millenium before this happens. With the courts receiving some 8,000 documents a day, each averaging about 25 pages, the whole pilot project is expected to take a number of years, says Amy Rudibaugh, Clerk of the Court public affairs officer. The probate section of the court is the first section to go digital and is expected to be completely online in two years.

Currently, when users go online, much like at the courthouse terminals, they can punch in a name or case number and get a list of related dockets. Despite being limited, this system can save you some time; you'll save a trip to the courthouse if the case hasn't been filed yet.

If you are able to access the dockets, get ready for long wait times as the site is quite slow, not ready to handle the 1,000 to 4,000 hits it is already getting daily. At the current rate the court charges of $1.15 a page for each page copied, the wait would appear to be worth it. --Liz Garone

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