Posted on

Odyssey could be wave of the future

Far too often, when the government gets its hand on something, it finds a way to squeeze the juice and pulp out of it and leave Americans with nothing more than a rind.
So far, anyway, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Indiana’s new Odyssey Case Management System, which debuted here last week.
The upgrade to Odyssey in Harrison County is part of the Indiana Supreme Court’s effort to equip every trial court with an updated case management system.
The goal is to connect courts with each other and law enforcement and other state agencies that need and use court information. Odyssey also makes court information available to the public over the Internet at no charge.
There’s very little not to like about Odyssey.
The system is provided to Indiana counties for free. Since Odyssey is Internet-based, any county with a computer and a connection to the Web can utilize the service.
Courts pay no installation costs, training costs, license fees or annual maintenance fees for Odyssey. The costs are paid by the Indiana Judicial Technology and Automation Committee from the proceeds of a court filing fee dedicated to the project by the General Assembly.
When it comes time to update Odyssey, the overhaul can be done immediately in Indianapolis, whereas some other case management systems force counties to wait their turn for an update as workers make their way through the state.
The average citizen can now go online, enter the URL, select Harrison County and find out if the neighborhood criminal is back to his or her shenanigans, and can follow their court case as it moves through the system.
Everything from criminal to civil and divorce cases can be found in Odyssey as well.
If someone has been arrested and bonded out of jail, they can also utilize Odyssey to not only find out the time and date of their next hearing, but also where the hearing is to be held ‘ in Harrison Superior or Harrison Circuit Court. That alone will save a lot of headache for employees answering calls in the clerk’s office.
Once the e-Ticket program training is completed by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, the time deputies spend at a traffic stop ‘ considered by some experts to be among the most dangerous things a police officer can do ‘ will be drastically reduced.
Also, traffic citations filed by police will almost instantly be delivered via the Internet to the prosecutor’s office.
Another major benefit of Odyssey is the ability for courts to look up the name of a person charged with an infraction in one county to see if there is a warrant for their arrest in any other county that uses Odyssey.
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan Jr., who chairs JTAC, told a gathering of attorneys and police officers last week, ‘Using Odyssey shows foresight and commitment by the clerk to get the program in place.’
Harrison is the 15th county to complete the switch to Odyssey, joining neighboring Floyd and Washington counties. Clark County is on a list of districts ready to get with the program, and once other counties see what Odyssey can do, they’ll likely hop on board, too.