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Rollout of eCourts an Odyssey incrementally improving

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(The Center Square) – After a rocky start, the conversion of North Carolina court documents from paper to electronic files is advancing and should be in place statewide by next year, the leader of the massive project told state legislators Thursday.

“We had some issues with the system not having the proper response time,” said Ryan Boyce from Administrative Office of the Court in a meeting with the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety. “It makes it really hard to work through when you’ve got kind of a website that’s spinning. We’ve worked very hard. We have engaged the vendor about these issues. I think we’ve seen incremental improvement over the past year.”

The system, called Odyssey, usually has issues after large software updates, Boyce said.

“We raised those concerns, we had some very strong conversations,” he said. “In early March, the vendor released a very major update which so far has seen improved processing times and great stability, cutting down on that system latency.”

The state has also required the vendor to move the entire system to a better-performing Amazon Web Services cloud platform at no cost to the state.

“We have seen some increased system response times and stability since making that change about a month ago,” Boyce said.

Eventually the system may be able to have automatic notification to attorneys of events in a pending case, said Boyce.

Attorneys often ask, “Is there anyway that when a judge issues an order, I can get email so that I am not having to look?” Boyce said. “The answer is yes. We think that is great functionality and we are working with the vendor to provide that.”

The system was praised by Michelle Ball, clerk of Superior Court in Johnston County.

“It is helping our clerk’s office serve our citizens and your constituents better,” she told legislators. “It allows people anywhere to access the court record and see, in basic real time, the work that is being done in the clerk’s office. I believe we have moved from an archaic system into a state-of-the-art system that is bringing North Carolina to the forefront of what is available for courts online in the country.”

There are still problems, she acknowledged.

“We are working through all those issues, but as Odyssey proceeds, it gets better,” she said.

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