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New electronic court system begins operation Monday

The Park Hills Municipal Courts have adopted a new computer system that will eventually be adopted state-wide. The system promises easier accessibility to those involved in the legal system and to make it easier to pay fines, file documents, and look up court case information.

City of Park Hills Municipal Court will begin using a new court filing system known as the Show-Me Courts (SMC) on Monday.

The SMC electronic filing system that uniformly files documents throughout the state.

Park Hills City Court Clerk Tracy Fisher said that the new process is a real advantage to both city staff and the public.

“Everything is standardized so we will all use the same docket codes and the same lingo basically,” said Fisher. “Everything will be on Case.net as well.

“There will be more accessibility to pay [fines and costs]. It’s a more uniform system for all courts throughout the state of Missouri.”  

Park Hills’ court personnel began training with a three-day training workshop they attended the first week of June and have undergone various online training throughout the implementation of the process.

While all Missouri municipal courts will eventually be required to utilize this system in the near future, Park Hills, along with Desloge, are some of the first local courts in the area to implement the system. Farmington Municipal court is also in the early stages of transitioning to the SMC system.

Fisher also said that the SMC system allows for real-time online updates of court documents and proceedings. Under the previous system, court information had to be entered manually by the court clerks which caused a delay in updating accessible online information to the public.

Individuals dealing with the court system in the city will have the ability to pay fines online, access trial dates and documents, and even check to see if they have active warrants.

Additionally, SMC has the ability to receive electronic ticket information from law enforcement. SMC has the ability for the prosecutor to electronically sign the e-ticket prior to filing and submitting to the court.

“Not everyone is on the new system yet but they’re slowly working everyone towards the new system,” said Fisher. “Tracking cases will be significantly easier than when using the old system. It will do a lot of things internally.”

Fisher went on to explain that last year, the state anticipated the entire state to be using the uniform system within five years but she believed they would be shooting for sooner than that five-year timeframe.

SMC was first launched in 2017 with several pilot courts for working out the details and kinks. 

The municipal pilot courts were Sedalia, St. Charles Ordinance, Ellisville, Bella Villa, Bel-Ridge, and Nixa.

The pilot circuit courts were the courts of Boone, St. Charles, and Phelps counties.

A $7 fee will be added to court costs as a result of the use of the new system bringing the maximum court cost owed by any individual convicted of a crime in the city from 28.50 to $35.50.

Previously, municipal court costs in Park Hills were itemized and distributed to different departments, according to Fisher.

For the disposition of each case before a municipal judge, the sum of $12 was charged. A surcharge of $2 was included in the previous ordinance for a Police Officer Training Fee (POST). A charge of $1 out of the court cost is provided to the Department of Revenue and another $1 charge is built into court costs going to the Shelters for Domestic Violence Fund.

Additionally, $7.50 of the court costs are given to the Crime Victims Fund.

“The fees haven’t changed except for the addition of the $7 [for the SMC system],” said Fisher. 

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Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3628, or at bradford@dailyjournalonline.com.

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