Electronic Bench PlatformJudges: Please Approach the(e)Bench

In today’s lean-budget environment, the justice system is challenged to do more with less. Thankfully, court cases across the country are finally keeping up with the speed and demands of justice thanks to the power of digitized processes. As a matter of fact, electronic document management systems (EDMS) and eFiling have been revolutionary for lawyers, prosecutor’s offices, courts, and clerk’s offices.

But, as the presiding presence in a courtroom, why haven’t judges been empowered to do the same?

ImageSoft Calls Mentis Technology to the Stand

Partnering with Mentis Technology, we’re bringing the aiSMARTBENCH solution to judges everywhere. Not only is it shifting the paper-based paradigm in the courtroom, it’s opening the judge’s eyes to what is possible with the right tools. As an effective tool for the bench that offers a faster-than-paper experience, aiSMARTBENCH integrates with existing case and document management systems so judges and hearing offices only work with one tool.

The most sought-after feature of aiSMARTBENCH is the judge’s view upon logging in: their daily docket. A short summary accompanies each case, but the full case-file view can be expanded with just one click. The daily docket continues to keep judges on track throughout the day by allowing them to sort their hearings, make ad-hoc changes to the order of the cases, and/or check tasks off as they go.

A Bench as Custom as The Judge’s Style

On criminal cases, judges commonly review the Probable Cause Affidavit. On a divorce case, they want to see the petitions, counter petitions, petitions for supplemental relief, and answers. And, of course, the service of process in civil cases always needs to be checked. Regardless of the case type and what document is needed, aiSMARTBENCH equips the judge with immediate navigation and results.

Judges simply need to create a tab for those documents that he or she wants immediate access to, and the user-defined tabs filter out all other documents except for what the judge wants to see. This ability to customize their dashboard to fit the unique flow of their courtroom empowers judges to harness more control over their hearings.

Access to Critical Documents Beyond the Official Record

Too often, judges are limited to only documents on the docket. This is an issue when case management reports, psychology reports, probation assessments, staff attorney memorandums, and other case-related data is not on the docket, but needs to be brought into the case. With aiSMARTBENCH, the judge can perform quick, full-text searches of ancillary case folders and locate the desired document within minutes.

  • Your Honor, Please
    eSign Here
  • Full-Text Searches at the
    Speed of Justice
  • From Arbitrary to
    Annotation
  • State Your Name
  • Order Over
    Intelligence Preparation

It’s going to be difficult for judges to remain unbiased against this one: with aiSMARTBENCH, the judge can electronically sign orders sent to them by the clerk. Not only does this eliminate hand cramps from hours of signing paperwork, but it empowers the judge to keep up with signing documents from wherever he or she may be with the ease of a laptop.

Best yet, electronic signatures protect against forgery by affixing an image of the judge’s signature to the document along with an encrypted code and the date and time of signature. The eSignature feature can even be configured to include a watermark behind the signature for extra authenticity.

Whether it’s a short file or one that spans years of litigation, it’s critical that a judge can key full-text searches and be taken directly to the pages with a match. With aiSMARTBENCH’s high-speed searches throughout all scanned, e-Filed, and/or imported court documents, such as Local Rules, BenchBooks, or other law books, judges are granted the power to do just that.

With the electronic, court-appropriate version of Post-It® Notes, aiSMARTBENCH allows the judge, or preparer of the case to securely bookmark and annotate key pages within a document for quick viewing by only those authorized to see the notation. By establishing a table of contents with outlines and bookmarks, the judge can jump directly to any location in the document. In addition to notes on the document, the judge can capture notes for the case, insert a time stamp and maintain a running log of observations throughout the lifecycle of the case. From there, the judge establishes an upmost level of privacy with the option to specify colleagues who can view the note(s).

Searching related cases is often a determining factor in how a case will play out. For example, while hearing a divorce case, it’s necessary that the judge can quickly perform a related-case search and determine if there are any domestic violence cases involving the same parties, or if one or both of the divorcing parents are the subject of a dependency action. With aiSMARTBENCH’s related cases function, this ability is within a few click’s reach.

Most judges develop standard orders over the years, such as orders referring cases to mediation, or to a magistrate, or orders setting case management. Once imported into aiSMARTBENCH, these forms become “intelligent” templates that link to case data. And with a single click, case-specific data, including the case type, case number, party and attorney names, date of the order, and the judges’ name, is automatically incorporated into the document.

When the orders are ready, the judge conducts a review and makes the necessary changes using MS Word. Once approved, the order can be e-signed by the judge, and printed and distributed in court. And while it’s currently a live feature only in Florida, aiSMARTBENCH can integrate with an eFiling portal to keep the seamless flow of electronic information in motion.

All Rise! With aiSMARTBENCH

For far too long, the justice system was captive to paper chains. But when Florida judges chimed in and worked with Mentis to develop a judicial dashboard “by judges, for judges,” aiSMARTBENCH broke the chains with just a few clicks and record efficiency.

Your honor deserves an honorable electronic case docket, and aiSMARTBENCH has remained the first and finest solution to elevate courtrooms to the decade’s standard for optimal efficiency. Because when the judge wins, justice wins.

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