County steps up to Supreme Court mandate

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 6, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.

Victoria County Commissioners took another step Monday in making the district clerk's office paperless.

The move comes after a Texas Supreme Court order in December that all civil cases - including family, probate, county at-law and district courts - be filed electronically by July 1, 2015.

Commissioners approved a software proposal from Tyler Technologies that will manage the judicial court docket electronically.

District Clerk Cathy Stuart said the employees in her office are eager for the change.

"It will be less paperwork and less scanning," she said. "It will free us up to help the public."

The federal court has electronic filing, she said.

"We accept e-filing now, but it's not mandatory," Stuart said. "At this point, it's mostly out-of-town attorneys who file electronic petitions and pleadings."

The supreme court anticipates the change making courts and clerks more cost- and work-efficient. The supreme court has been studying this since the 1990s.

While Victoria has until 2015, counties with populations of more than 500,000 must make the change by Jan. 1.

County Judge Don Pozzi said there is a strong likelihood Stephen Tyler, the criminal district attorney, will pick up the $43,485 tab, leaving the county to pay the $6,143 annual maintenance fees from the information technology budget.

"Whether he does that or not, this is something we are going to have to do," Pozzi said. "I'm relatively confident those initial costs will be taken care of."

The systems will go in both county courts-at-law, with two in the third-floor district courtroom, two in the second-floor district courtroom and one in the district judge's office.



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