This time of the year, its tradition to deck the halls with boughs of holly. But Maricopa County courts have decked the halls another way with stacks upon stacks of files. Taking a welcome step into the digital age, Maricopa County's judiciary is about to embrace the old adage that less is more. Take court files for example.
Electronic filing at the courts isn't a wholly radical suggestion. But shredding existing stacks of hardcopy files is, and favorably so. As the Phoenix metropolitan area continues to swell in population, the courts have had a hard time keeping up with filing demands. As reported by the Arizona Republic, over 2 million court files occupy much needed space and take away from other essential duties of the courts.
Going paperless is a sensible way to make court proceedings more efficient and open to the public. Electronic records help reduce costly physical storage space. Digital programs also shift priorities by letting more staff work on processing cases instead of filing countless stacks of paper. In the end, less time spent filing papers means more justice for all.
Benjamin Barr is a constitutional analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.
-Arizona Republic: County courts to put millions of printed records into computers
-Clerk of Superior Courts Office, Maricopa County: Doing the Courts Business Without a Paper File
-National Center for State Courts: Court Technology Bulletin