CA’s planned case management system is no longer going to be implemented. Originally conceived in 2001, the system was supposed to modernize and sync the 58 California superior county courts together in order to share information including criminal and civil cases. The implementation was voted down in a Special Session held by the Judicial Council of CA in March.
The Judicial Council composed of trial and appellate judges was given three options. It was to either go ahead with the project, dissolve it, or put it off for a year. It elected to terminate the project.
The original cost of the plan was estimated to be around 240 million which ballooned to 1.9 billion by 2010. The State of CA being in severe debt decided this was no longer a viable project, not before squandering half a billion on the project.
The State of CA, which at last count ranked the 10th largest economy in the world will continue running the court systems under antiquated methods. Judges can’t share information, lawyers will continue sending law clerks to the courts to pull files and check on motions. Parole officers and mental health agencies must rely on paper methods and court clerks to get the information they critically need – information that in this modern era should be electronic.
According to Chief Justice Tani G Cantil- Sakauye “The council’s decision to stop deployment of CCMS was responsible and prudent in view of our budget situation and the facts we gathered on the actual costs of deployment. ”
Among some of the red-flags:
- The development was without sufficient planning and analysis.
- The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) failed to do a cost-benefit analysis as the original cost
estimate of 240 million in 2004 grew to 1.9 billion in 2010.
- AOC did not structure its contract with vendors correctly to ensure that it could adequately control the costs.
- Had not obtained adequate funding and failed to develop a comprehensive budget.
Considering the State’s budget shortfall, perhaps the Judicial Council should of scrapped the idea some time ago instead of spending half a billion on a project which was poorly planned and now never implemented. It’s an astonishing waste of money and should better explain some of the reasons why the State of CA is in such financial turmoil.