Missouri eFiling System will increase public access to court documents

Thursday, September 19, 2013 | 9:29 p.m. CDT; updated 7:53 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 19, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Chief Justice Mary R. Russell announced Thursday in Columbia that electronic court documents will soon be made available to the public in most counties.

The technology is expected to reach Boone County by February 2014.

Currently, members of the public can go into county terminals and request to see the paper court records and see that court's specific records. However, with the implementation of the Missouri eFiling System, citizens will soon be able to go into any Missouri court and access the electronic files for any county using the system.

"Increasing public access to, and understanding of, the courts is essential to the long-term success of our judicial system," Russell said during a luncheon speech for the Judicial Conference of Missouri and the Missouri Bar.

Currently, eFiling is being used in the Supreme Court, all three districts in the Missouri Court of Appeals, and trial courts in 15 counties plus the city of St. Louis, according to a press release from the Supreme Court clerk. 

"We have finalized the implementation schedule through 2014, which is more than 15 months," said Beth Riggert, communications counselor for the clerk of the Supreme Court. "We expect all the counties to join the Missouri eFiling system eventually, but implementation plans for 2015 or beyond still are in the discussion stages."

Currently, only lawyers and judges can access the electronic files from remote computers outside of the courts. 

"We know can receive up to a million hits a day, and the system is not at a point where we are able to permit unlimited remote access to it," Riggert said. "We are hopeful that providing the access through the terminals in the courthouses will help strike a balance between ensuring the continued stability of the system for the primary users as the system continues its steady growth and providing public access in as convenient a way as we are able to make it at this point."

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