EATON — Supreme Court Justice Judi French visited the Preble County Courthouse on Tuesday, June 25, to present Judge Jenifer Overmyer with a $142,851 check for upgrades to the Probate and Juvenile Courts’ case management system.
The grant is from the Supreme Court’s Ohio Courts Technology Grant Fund.
According to the Supreme Court Office of Public Information, this honor is part of the $2.9 million worth of technology grants in 2019 which will go to more than two dozen counties and cover 47 projects. In the past five years, the Supreme Court 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.
Following the presentation ceremony, Judge Overmyer said, “One court has not had any kind of upgrade for five years, the other for ten years. Frankly, those were very bare-boned, within our budget [upgrades]. We had the ability to apply for a grant. [We] got together with our court management system and looked at things. Frankly, we got what we asked for from the Supreme Court and we were shocked.
“What this is all about is adding much more public access to the courts. There is no ability for somebody to see a file unless they come in right now. Certain of our cases we still can’t put in there, they’re confidential, but the ability to be able to file things, pay for things, sign things online. Too, on mine and my magistrate’s parts, to be able to sign things and get them out electronically. It is mind boggling, frankly, what we are going to be able to do.
“We are very grateful, thankful, and were shocked when we got the letter from Chief Justice that we got the amount.”
Justice French added, “This is one of the larger checks that I’ve delivered. This is going to be transformative for the court. What I think is great about this, it is not the Supreme Court saying to you, this is what we want you to do and giving that direction, this is the local community saying, let’s be innovative, take some initiative and decide what we want, what we need, how much money we need to accomplish that and ask for that and the court says, here you go.
“I’ve been doing this all over the state. Some of it is for technology, some is for security, but a lot has to do with access to the courts. Congratulations.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH