Courts Streamline Transfer of Case Records to Appellate Court
FRESNO—Thanks to a grant award from the State Justice Institute (SJI), the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District (5DCA) set up the Transcript Assembly Program (TAP) to all trial courts within its jurisdiction. TAP is a software program that automates the trial court’s labor intensive process of compiling a civil clerk’s transcript and produces an electronic record that can be securely transmitted to the appellate court.
TAP started as a pilot project between the 5DCA and the Superior Courts of Fresno and Stanislaus Counties. The pilot trial courts using TAP cut their appellate case processing workload by 50-75%, partially offsetting their staffing reductions during this fiscal crisis.
“It frees up clerks within our trial court’s appellate division to cross train and to work on other projects,” said Stephanie Kennedy, Operations Manager for the Superior Court of Stanislaus County. “We’ve been able to move some staff around to help other areas of the court that need backup and assistance, especially during these tough fiscal times when we have frozen positions within the court.”
In addition to savings for the trial courts, the 5DCA no longer receives lengthy, printed records that need to be mailed or photocopied.
“With the push of a button, any size transcript can be delivered electronically to our court,” said Charlene Ynson, Court Administrator/Clerk for 5DCA. “Electronic records provide the court significant savings. Otherwise we could spend thousands of dollars to store, retrieve, and move large records throughout the review process.”
The 5DCA and Superior Courts of Fresno and Stanislaus Counties received the 2010-11 Ralph N. Kleps Collaborative Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts for the successful deployment of TAP. The SJI grant helped fund the deployment of TAP to the remaining seven trial courts within the 5DCA’s jurisdiction: Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Tulare, and Tuolumne. Effective September 26, 2012, the 5DCA receives electronic clerk’s transcripts for civil cases from all nine trial courts within its jurisdiction. The 5DCA hopes to expand the TAP program to all case types so it can redirect record storage savings into other areas of court operations.