In 2005 every criminal justice agency within Orleans Parish had its own independent approach to serving the public. Interactions included a poor understanding of other agencies’ business processes, willingness to change, and ability to embrace common technology solutions. Computer based systems had historically been developed independently by each agency and were focused on isolated goals. Systems often duplicated the workflows of their paper-based processes and failed to use technology to reengineer business processes. For all these reasons, the New Orleans criminal justice system was characterized by separate “stovepipe” systems that shared limited information or were inadequate in a variety of ways.
What Orleans Parish needed was a solution that could:
As industry experts, Orion first documented the Parish's subpoena issuance process flow and work-a-rounds that dealt with short notices, critical appearance requirements, notifications for incarcerated witnesses and distinctions in the Criminal, Magistrate and Municipal Courts. The analysis included the court procedures, prosecutor, defense attorney and public defender involvement, as well as IT systems and network infrastructure.
Next, Orion's CourtNotify electronic subpoena software was deployed for the Criminal District Courts, N.O. Police Dept. and Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office. Within the first 48 hours, the NOPD received over 600 subpoenas and subsequently acknowledged receipt of over 584 subpoenas electronically.
For the past 11+ years, CourtNotify has been used to transmit real-time subpoena notifications from the Orleans Parish Criminal Courts, DA and Public Defender's Offices to the NOPD and Parish Sheriff’s Office. Based on their success the City’s Magistrate, Juvenile and Traffic Courts were soon added to the platform. As a result, Parish and City Courts have been receiving timely information regarding officer's attendance, conflicts with appearances and those who have retired. What’s more, 100,000+ electronic subpoenas for civilians have been transmitted annually to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office for service delivery.
"Timely, accurate and shared information is critical to the operations of every criminal justice agency in New Orleans. Post-Katrina manpower shortages made labor saving efficiencies like CourtNotify, even more important."
Dr. Heidi Unter, New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation
With the DA and Public Defender using the system, the court’s clerical workload has been reduced -- which has reduced administrative costs. NOPD officers are no longer called unnecessarily to court for hearings that do not require police to be present. When cases are cancelled or deferred, officers receive real-time disregard notices informing them about their scheduling change. This has reduced overtime for unnecessary court appearances and enabled a better policing presence in the field.
By using Orion's Interface Agent, integration between the Parish’s CSM and the Sheriff’s JMS duplicated data entries have been eliminated and civilian subpoena delivery results improved. Names of incarcerated witnesses are being red-flagged on witness case screens as part of the issuance process. Details regarding each participant’s jailed location are displayed.
All users view historical records of jailed court participants with previous incarcerations and/or court events. Correctional personnel generate listings of incarcerated witnesses for specific courts and dates.