With Introduction of Integrated Justice System, Cook County Circuit Court Takes Major Step Forward
Cook County is taking a major step forward in advancing the ability of its numerous courthouses to communicate with one another. The Integrated Justice system, proposed as far back as 2002, is finally getting closer to implementation. Most recently, Markham Courthouse was added to the list of county facilities connected to one another via a high-speed fiber broadband network, one of the fastest forms of internet connection available.
The Integrated Justice system was proposed as a way to usher Cook County’s judicial system into the 21st century by allowing the county’s various courthouses to share information about those in the system, with the goal of streamlining the process of obtaining criminal history information. According to Simona Rollinson, the chief information officer for Cook County, the current system by which criminal history is accessed includes over 20 ways to track individuals in the criminal justice system, most of which are paper-based. This has resulted in delays and confusion, including a failure to release certain defendants when they were entitled to release. Cook County has been sued numerous times for failing to release inmates on time, delays which are largely attributed to court staff needing to review voluminous paper records prior to release, to ensure that the individual to be released is not wanted on other charges.
The broadband internet connection introduced at Markham Courthouse has already resulted in changes for those coming before the court. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans reports that some arraignments are currently being streamed over the internet, and that in the future, arraignments will be held over live video. The broadband internet connection is a necessary first step to introducing a unified database of criminal history information, to ensure that courthouses have the bandwidth to access the database. In December of 2015, Cook County hired an independent software development company to create a platform that will allow all courthouses to access the same database of information regarding those in the system. County officials expect the Integrated Justice system to be completed by the end of 2017.
If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area and are in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend your rights before the court at the Markham Courthouse or other Cook County courthouses, contact the experienced and dedicated Homewood criminal defense attorney John Fairman for a consultation on your case, at 708-799-4848.