Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller: Eliminating backlogs with in-court processing

ShowCase ICP   •   An equivant product

Customer Profile

The Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller is the public’s trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. In 1838, the Florida Constitution established the Clerk & Comptroller as a Constitutional Officer, directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County citizens. The Office performs more than 926 different constitutional and statutory functions and duties, in addition to responsibilities required by court rule and administrative order.

Challenges

A typical week for the Palm Beach County Courts (Florida’s 15th Judicial Circuit) includes hearing almost 2,000 traffic and criminal cases at three separate locations. No matter how hard courtroom personnel worked at processing these cases they were often left with a backlog that took several days to complete. Keeping up in real-time was difficult and it raised the potential for issues with accuracy, since handwritten information often moved from one area to another before being entered into their ShowCase CMS.

Other side effects of this largely manual courtroom process were that judges, clerks, attorneys, and other justice stakeholders were forced to wade through multi-part forms, spend time calculating statutory fines and fees, and coordinate calendars for follow-up hearings – all before the parties could exit the courtroom.

The court knew that they needed to make a change. Not only were these processes inefficient and costly, they could potentially result in critical lags, inaccurate assessments, and general confusion for the court, its partners, and its citizens.

“Before ShowCase ICP, it would take us about 3 days to catch up with the cases coming from court; getting current with our workload was like trying to swim upstream. Now, we are completely up to date and have no trouble staying that way.” -Louis Tomeo, Director of Criminal Court Services PALM BEACH COUNT Y CLERK & COMPTROLLER

Solution

Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office worked closely with the ShowCase team at equivant on ways to streamline case processing to drive down wait times, reduce the potential for errors, and eliminate redundancies that were exacerbated by a reliance on manual methods. equivant developed the ShowCase In-Court Processing (ICP) solution to address these issues while ensuring that courtroom staff could match the pace of their busy judges and maintain an efficient tempo throughout their day. ShowCase ICP was initially launched in a few traffic courts, and now handles all criminal and traffic dockets throughout the county.

“With ShowCase ICP, we are saving significant time and money officewide, and those benefits have quickly extended out to our justice partners and ultimately to the citizens we serve.” -Louis Tomeo, Director of Criminal Court Services PALM BEACH COUNT Y CLERK & COMPTROLLER

ShowCase ICP is able to electronically generate all documents and quickly record official signatures, automatically assess required fines and fees, document all court actions as they happen, and provide justice partners and citizens with immediate access to updated information.

“Before ShowCase ICP, it would take us about 3 days to catch up with the cases coming from court; getting current with our workload was like trying to swim upstream,” explains Tomeo. “Now, we are completely up to date and have no trouble staying that way.”

Results

Within two months of the ShowCase ICP implementation in criminal courtrooms, Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office was exceeding all performance measures for timeliness as mandated by the state. The Office no longer runs the risk of under-assessing fines and fees and has even increased the court’s potential collection of these statutory penalties by more than $800,000 when compared to the previous year. All justice partners can log into ShowCase for updates directly from their offices, eliminating the need to make phone calls or hunt down case and person information. And perhaps most importantly, defendants who are due for release from jail are processed efficiently and without unnecessary delay.

Because ShowCase ICP has proven so effective, several of the problem-solving courts in Palm Beach County are realizing residual benefits; the mental health courts, drug courts, and veteran’s treatment courts now receive more timely and complete information about cases and defendants who are eligible for their programs, helping to ensure a smooth transition from one court docket to the other for these citizens.

The many efficiencies of ShowCase ICP have allowed Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office to refocus staff on other critical projects and create even more savings for the court and its constituents. Working with the equivant ShowCase team, the Office has been able to expand datasharing with several law enforcement agencies to receive new citations electronically, eliminating the need to manually enter those traffic tickets. Another project between equivant and the Clerk & Comptroller’s Office will introduce an online payment capability so that citizens can clear up their fines and fees without having to visit the courthouse in person.

“With the ShowCase ICP, we are saving significant time and money office wide, and those benefits have quickly extended out to our justice partners and ultimately to the citizens we serve,” says Tomeo.

By |2019-02-28T19:29:54+00:00January 24th, 2019|Blog, Case Studies, Resources, ShowCase|Comments Off on Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller: Eliminating backlogs with in-court processing