Texas gears up for online suit filing

A Texas county is working to accept lawsuit filings via the Internet.

Bexar County District Clerk Reagan Greer sees electronic filing as a

way to eliminate the redundancies: After a suit is filed, the information

must be entered by employees into the computer system then made available

to judges on paper.

"My vision is for the judges to pull these files up on the bench," Greer

said. Bexar County, with a population of about 1.3 million people, includes

the city of San Antonio.

Earlier this year, a task force of people from the information technology

and clerks' departments and legal experts met to discuss the issue. In May,

a request for proposals was issued, and the deadline for bids is this Friday.

Greer wants the system up and running by the beginning of next year.

The county will start with civil suits, because they are simpler, but

plans to expand the project to criminal cases.

Although Greer guesses that at first mostly large legal firms with "technically

advanced attorneys" will file online, he hopes that in the future it will

become the standard way to file. For now, people will still be able to file

manually and by fax.

Above all else, Greer said whichever vendor is chosen will have to have

a proven track record in security.

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