Excellence through Technology
Connectivity, availability, and reliability are the benchmarks for “Excellence through Technology.” Our goal is to provide tools that contribute to better and more efficient client service.
To ensure that attorneys and staff have the tools to provide clients the best defense possible, the Public Defender continually invests in technology. The success of MSPD technology offerings has been featured in the ABA’s Technology and Practice Guide and in the National Center for State Courts Technology Bulletin.
Case Management System
The Public Defender is committed to creating and using technology so that attorneys work efficiently. Interacting databases provide organized case files with easy and flexible document control, form processing, and docketing and scheduling that tracks key dates and events in a case. Using these interacting databases, each document is stored electronically and retrieved using the most sophisticated electronic searching capabilities available.
The case management system automates document preparation and management through document assembly systems. In-house experts customize and enhance these systems quickly and effectively. The system allows entry of unlimited data from a variety of sources (graphics, spreadsheets, scanned documents, digital pictures, and crime scene recreations). The case management system also includes workflow.
”One Law Office”
The Public Defender System functions as “one law office,” an approach that drives both software offerings and computer infrastructure. The 39 MSPD offices throughout Missouri are connected through a secure Wide Area Network (WAN). Within each office, communications travel over a state-of-the-art Ethernet backbone. Using this sophisticated communications infrastructure, every employee can access the latest technologies.
Information technologies provide attorneys access to multiple sources of critical information using the latest legal technology tools. This includes instantaneous access to on-line legal information resources, as well as to legal resources produced by the Public Defender system and to internal collaborative information databases.
The exchange of knowledge among attorneys is a key feature of this system. Attorneys throughout the state can post a question in a fully indexed and searchable knowledge database, asking for expertise on a legal matter, and receive a quick response from their colleagues. In effect, the client is defended not by just one attorney, but by all attorneys within the Public Defender System acting as “one law office.”
Although employees of the system can share issues, pleadings, ideas, and research, the system maintains safeguards to insure that individual client files may be accessed only by attorneys and staff of the individual offices. These safeguards avoid conflict concerns.
Technology on Every Desk
PCs and the latest in technology are available to the 580 attorneys, secretaries, legal assistants, and administrative staff of MSPD. Attorneys are in contact with everyone involved in a client case as well as all the resources in our department, using the combined internal intranet and the Internet.
The Missouri Public Defender also supplies technologies for multimedia presentations and exhibits in the courtroom to present the case in the most compelling format. These include laptops, portable projectors, software to re-create crime scenes, digital cameras, and video.
The goals of the “Excellence through Technology” philosophy are accomplished by continuing to enhance electronic communication, collaboration, case management, and effortless access to critical information. By investing in the latest technologies, the Missouri Public Defender System carries out the mission to provide high-quality, zealous advocacy for the people who are accused of crime in the State of Missouri.