Cracking the Case

 
 
By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Posted 2004-03-15 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Cracking the Case

Ciber raided the legal industry in 2001 when it acquired Metamor Industry Solutions Inc. One of Metamors claims to fame was CRIMES (Case Records Information Management and Exchange System), a software platform for prosecutors, public defenders and civil attorneys first developed in 1992. CRIMES automates legal processes; manages and tracks cases; and generates key legal documents, including complaints, indictments, petitions, motions, subpoenas and form letters.

Cibers Law & Justice Solutions group in Sacramento, Calif., designs and maintains CRIMES, which is available for Windows, Solaris and NetWare in client/server or Web-based configurations.

Minnesotas Anoka and Dakota counties are standardizing on Cibers latest Microsoft Corp. .Net version of CRIMES. The deployment, based on Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000, goes well beyond a traditional shrink-wrap software project.

"The counties have asked us to tailor CRIMES to address 35 different case types with special functionality," said Cibers Sherman.

According to Anoka Countys Mallinger, CRIMES will optimize workflow within the counties criminal justice system; capture criminal justice information at the point of origin and share it with subsequent criminal justice business processes; decrease the counties dependence on printed documents and thereby reduce manual workload; use open standards such as XML and adhere to vertical information sharing requirements as defined in Minnesotas CriMNet enterprise architecture; and leverage existing technology investments, such as fiber optics and Ethernet networks.

At a glance

  • Customer: Minnesotas Anoka and Dakota counties

  • Business: Need an integrated case management system that allows county attorneys to track cases, events and digital documents

  • Partners: Ciber Inc. and Venturi Technology Partners

  • Technology: CRIMES application server and database server running on Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000; Hyland Softwares OnBase for workflow; Crystal Reports Professional, Microsoft Word and Adobe Systems Inc.s Acrobat Reader to view CRIMES-generated documents

  • Contract value: Roughly $700,000
  • After implementing CRIMES, county attorneys will be able to view all documents and digital files associated with each case from any Internet-enabled PC. Thats a key project requirement, since county attorneys shift between multiple sites and visit multiple court locations.

    Anoka and Dakota have another reason for going the CriMNet/XML route to a case management overhaul. By doing so, the counties are eligible to receive state funding.

    "This [schema] specification promotes efficient data exchange among ... prosecutors, public defenders, courts, law enforcement agencies and corrections/probation departments," said Dakota Countys Stassen. In the longer term, CRIMES XML capabilities may pave the way for electronic filing of complaints through the Minnesota Courts Information System, he said.

    Although CRIMES is a work in progress in Minnesota, anecdotal evidence suggests the project should be completed on time and on budget. Two states—Alaska and Louisiana—have already completed statewide CRIMES deployments. Vermont is piloting now, and a fourth state, located in the Southeast, is expected to standardize on CRIMES later this year.

    Joseph C. Panettieri is editorial director at the New York Institute of Technology. He can be reached at joe_pan5@yahoo.com.

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