If you picked up a copy of the Daily Journal today and turned to page 7 to the Letters to the Editor section you would have seen a really interesting “fight” among three people over the true value of CCMS.
In the pro-CCMS corner there’s Judicial Council spokesperson Phillip R. Carrizosa who wrote the editor of the Daily Journal contesting some of the comments made by Judge Loren McMaster of Sacramento. In his letter Mr. Carrizosa trumpets the glory of CCMS and states that Judge McMaster had misled readers as the only court that had any problems with CCMS was Judge McMaster’s.
In the con-CCMS corner response Judge McMaster sent in a respone to Carrizosa stating that Mr. Carrizosa had it “backwards” when it came to relating what really happened in Sacramento when it was among the chosen to put CCMS through its paces.
As a counter to Judge McMaster’s assertion that CCMS is not working and that the AOC and Deloitte, the contractor handling its creation, are not taking input from the very people that will have to use the system, the Daily Journal also printed a letter from Judge Glen M. Reiser of Ventura who gives a detailed description of how the computer system works for him.
I’m going to post all three letters here which you can read after the jump for your analysis.
Letters Sent In To Daily Journal About CCMS
The January 20 opinion piece, “New Computer System is Trouble Laden,” by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster incorrectly faults a developing statewide case managements system for problems that have occurred only in his court. The interim version of the California Case Management System (CCMS) he writes about was installed in six courts, including Sacramento. Five of the six courts, including Sacramento, were involved in the design of the application from its inception through the current maintenance and support efforts. Unlike the other courts, Sacramento chose to deploy the system on its own and only engage the services of the CCMS deployment vendor where they felt it was needed.
As a result, the court developed significant problems with its system that the other courts are not experiencing and last July, the court asked the Administrative Office of the Courts for assistance. The AOC sent a team of experts to discuss the court’s concerns and the team spent time with six of the judges who were using CCMS, including Judge McMaster. Some 36 issues were raised. Most of them – 29 – involved local court issues. Only seven would require CCMS enhancements.
The AOC sent the court an in-depth report in November outlining the steps Sacramento needs to take to resolve their issues and to use the system effectively. The presiding judge and the CEO thanked the AOC for its work and guidance. Sacramento now needs to take the next step and develop a plan to implement the report’s findings. The backlog referred to by Judge McMaster existed prior to the development of CCMS but only became apparent when CCMS was deployed and the court – against recommendations – went paperless, which required the court to scan all its documents.
Judge McMaster and other critics of CCMS are fond of repeatedly contending that the system costs about $1 million per judge. In fact, the system isn’t being built for judges alone. It’s being built for 37 million Californians. It’s being built so that courts can move out of the technological dark ages, share vital information with each other, with the public, and with other justice system partners, such as law enforcement and social service agencies. It’s a system being built to protect the public. Of course there will be problems as we move toward a statewide system. Like anything else, problems can be solved with the cooperative efforts of everyone involved.
PHILIP R. CARRIZOSA
JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS
Sacramento Used for Test Projects; Suggestions Ignored
AOC spokesperson Mr. Carrizosa faults Sacramento as the only court facing problems with CCMS. He fails to disclose that Sacramento was selected by AOC to do several test projects that other large counties were not required to do. These “tests” included going paperless, and the use of an out-of-state location for its data base, causing CCMS to run much slower in Sacramento than elsewhere.
Sacramento staff took part in CCMS design and presented Sacramento’s minimum requirements, some taken from our own program designed by Sacramento IT staff. AOC and its no-bid, sole source contractor, Deloitte, largely ignored these requirements.
Sacramento is blamed for not hiring Deloitte (at a multi-million dollar cost) to assist in deployment. That decision, as well as the decision to go paperless, was made by our then CEO, who is now an AOC Regional Director. Financial issues also played a role.
Mr. Carrizosa has it backwards; Sacramento did not plead for AOC assistance last July. Rather, our court demanded that AOC and Deloitte fix their dismal program, or risk our dropping further participation in CSMS. The “experts” were embarrassed when their demonstration was a failure, due to the slowness of CCMS.
The experts finally met with me and law and motion staff, after ignoring us for five years. They were shown the many “work-arounds” necessitated by CCMS design problems, which double staff workload. The faulty CCMS design precludes law and motion judges from using it for the preparation of rulings or publishing that days’ calendar. We have no interest in regressing.
Many Sacramento employees are now declining to work further with AOC or Deloitte, expressing frustration that, in the words of one employee, staff were left with “the impression that we court employees were just there to give rubber stamp approval to whatever Deloitte and the AOC wanted to do, not to offer constructive criticisms or suggest program improvements.”
Mr. Carrizosa seeks to deflect focus from CCMS problems by trotting out a bogus public safety argument. A system is in place (CLETS) that law enforcement personnel and judges use to check for warrants and restraining orders. If that system needs an upgrade, then upgrade it. To use public safety as an argument to justify CCMS is cynical and misleading.
AOC has posted an “RFI,” seeking outside money for CCMS. Perhaps reality is setting in – taxpayers will not pay to clean up this mess.
LOREN E. MCMASTER
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Proposed System Will Allow Judges to Be Better Informed
Following the January 20 article “New Computer System is Trouble Laden” by Judge Loren E. McMaster, I would like to clarify the record relative to any misinformed and misguided criticism of the California Case Management System.
I have been using the “V3” version of the California Case Management System (CCMS) in my courtroom, every day, many times each day, for more than two years. Though originally developed to efficiently manage a court clerk’s office, a “Judicial Officer” portal was added to “V3” to allow my colleagues and I to efficiently conduct judicial business electronically.
“V3” is amazingly simple for a judge to operate. The first page of the “Judicial Officer” screen is a standard daily calendar, populated with each category of calendar events set on a particular day, by time. A single mouse click takes me to the particular “basket” of cases I need to hear; a click on a particular case in the opened “basket” opens up the electronic file for that case. It therefore takes only two clicks to open up a court file.
When the calendar event is a civil motion, a menu opens up, offering “tentative rulings;” “research notes;” “comments” and “JO notes.” At a minimum, “real time” analysis from the legal research department will have been previously uploaded into the second menu item. From my “tentative ruling” screen I prepare my own tentative rulings, often “cut and pasted” into the screen from applicable statutory or case law. My tentative ruling is sent to the Internet via the Court’s public Web site by clicking “publish.”
With any file open, a third click opens up a docket/register of actions, in which each filing is identified with reference to the exact minute it was received. From that point, “V3” has the capability of opening any particular document in .pdf format with only one more click. In counties with document management (“imaging”) systems and third party electronic service (“e-filing”) providers in place, all filed documents will have an electronic image; in those counties where a document management system is still being vetted, all internally generated documents including notices, minute orders and probate investigative reports are still loaded instantly into the system in .pdf format when first generated.
Because all of this information is delivered instantly on my courtroom laptop and in-chambers PC; augmented by Lexis Nexis (or WestLaw) tools on one screen and proposed orders through courtroom e-mail on another, virtually all judicial business in my courtroom can and is being handled electronically.
At trial, exhibit lists from counsel received electronically in Microsoft Word format are directly uploaded into the “trial exhibit” portion of the “V3” software, where they are converted to an Excel trial exhibit spreadsheet.
While “V3” makes my job infinitely easier, its benefits pale in comparison to the proposed “V4,” extending to all case types and allowing public access through the proposed statewide California courts electronic “portal.” I am obviously a huge proponent of CCMS, which, in the final analysis, makes me a better informed judge and therefore, a better judge.
GLEN M. REISER
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE