Technology grants awarded

| May 16, 2019

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French (far right) presented two technology grants when she visited Coshocton County on Tuesday, May 14. A check in the amount of $212,750 was presented to the Coshocton County Common Pleas Court / Domestic Relations to replace the court’s case management system. Pictured with Justice French are Common Pleas Judge Robert Batchelor, Barbara Karr and Camila Graham, Coshocton County Clerk of Courts. Mark Fortune | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French visited Coshocton County on Tuesday, May 14 and presented checks for technology grants in the total amount of $217,513.56 to Judge Robert Batchelor and Judge Van Blanchard. A check was presented to Judge Batchelor in the amount of $212,750 to replace the court’s case management system. A check was also presented to Judge Van Blanchard in the amount of $4,763.56 for the Coshocton County Probate and Juvenile court for video conferencing equipment for hearings, trainings and mediation.

The Ohio Supreme Court has awarded a total of $2.9 million dollars in 2019 technology grants to more than two dozen counties and covering 47 projects. In the past five years, the Supreme Court of Ohio has awarded more than $14 million in technology grants. Projects have included case management upgrades, public online access to records, systems to file and pay fees, hardware upgrades, security equipment and a variety of other projects.

Camila Graham said, “We’re very excited and grateful and blessed that we received this. We will use these funds to update our case management program which will allow for imaging and eventually e-filing. Our records will be more transparent and easier access for the public and attorneys working on cases.”

Barb Karr said, “We had a lot of conversations with the company and we involved our local IT person, Mike LaVigne in that process so we knew exactly what we would be getting into technology wise. This will be a game changer for this court. We’re pretty antiquated and this will bring us up to the level of technology that is as current as it can be.”

Graham added, “I would just like to say thank you to Barb because she was instrumental in writing the grant. We could not have done this without the help of a lot of people. This will allow our office to be open 24-7.”

Justice French (center) also presented a check in the amount of $4,763.56 to the Coshocton County Probate & Juvenile Court to pay for video conferencing and equipment for hearings, trainings and mediation. Pictured with Justice French are Doug Schonauer (left), court administrator and Probate Court Judge Van Blanchard. Mark Fortune | Beacon

Karr said, “This money will be put to good use and I can’t wait to see when all of our records are accessible on the internet for people – the opportunities for them to file will be easier and they can do it from their home computer, they don’t have to come into the court necessarily. I am thankful for other people in the Coshocton community who helped me with the grant writing process- Doug Schonauer helped with some of the details of how to put it together and I am thankful for that.”

Doug Schonauer, representing the Probate and Juvenile court said, “We’re pleased that Common Pleas, Juvenile and Probate Division were able to get this technology grant. This will allow us to improve our conferencing in our courtroom. We’ll have two large screen video monitors that can be viewed from any angle in the courtroom and involve parties that cannot be present for all types of court hearings. We appreciate Justice French being able to come to Coshocton County and present these awards to our county. Judge Blanchard is constantly looking at what are areas that we can work on and improve our services for the people of our community. This is just another way that we can allow folks to have access and also attorneys from other areas that maybe can’t get to Coshocton for a hearing that they are not required to be present for but they can still participate.”

Judge Robert Batchelor said, “The purpose behind the grant is for greater public accessibility of the records. Imaging will allow people to have quicker access to public records that they are allowed to have access to. We are also going to have greater security for these records because they will be stored in the cloud versus in this building. And we will have greater efficiency with the filing of the records and the way that e-file is distributed from the clerk’s office, and to me and to the public.

“This is not free money; this is taxpayer money but its money that people in Coshocton County have paid in taxes that is coming back to Coshocton County to create a better court system.

“Barb (Karr) and Camila (Graham) have just done a fantastic job as well as Mike LaVigne with the IT Department and we will need their continued resolve here to get this project to completion.

“The Supreme Court has been gracious enough to send Justices from time to time and it’s great to see them come from Columbus and visit counties like Coshocton.”

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French said, “This is part of a – so far – five year plan to make our local courts more efficient, more accessible and more effective. It was started by Chief Justice O’Connor five years ago and it’s all about getting technology money into the hands of the local courts. What I really like about this is that it is not the Ohio Supreme Court saying here is what we want you to do and here’s the money, it’s the local court saying, ‘Here is what we want to do and here’s how much money we need to accomplish that’. This is one of the biggest grants that we’ve given out this year. The total for this year is $2.9 million going to 47 different projects around the state.

”This is money that would not have come to the local courts without them asking, without the officials here saying, ‘We have an issue that we want to resolve and here’s what we need to do it.’

“Good for them and good for the Ohio Supreme Court that we can see the greater efficiency in the local courts.”

Justice French added, “I love this courtroom. I do love it. I work in a pretty nice courtroom myself but I love coming to the county courthouses. There is nothing like them.”

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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