SJV's Automation Team devotes considerable time and attention to the process of finding, evaluating, and automating criminal court sites across the country. With a library spanning several hundred sites and nearly two thousand counties, the process by which we expand our depth of automated coverage has been refined since we began extracting court site data from the web back in 2010. Of course, not all sites make the cut, and there are many sites, even high quality ones, that have not made it into our library with the coveted label of "Default Process"!
Our method of evaluation can be distilled down to a couple of key insights, and for a site to continue to the point of even basic automation, we're looking for these core criteria to be satisfied:
In states were multiple courts must be checked and results combined to complete a check, verifying that the site being evaluated contains data from all required courts is crucial. Up until recently, an excellent example of this was our home county of Cobb County, Georgia. For years, the Superior Court has made their case data available online, but it was not until the end of 2016 that the State Court adopted a platform and released their data for public online viewing. As a rule, if a county requires more than one court to be searched to provide a complete result, SJV will only automate that county if all courts are online. Piecing together a set of results obtained partially online and partially from conventional court research presents its own unique set of challenges.
Particularly of importance when evaluating whether a site is appropriate as a Full Extraction jurisdiction, a few key data points must be reliably present. The usual fields such as Name, DOB, Case Number, File Date, Charge Type, Charge Description, Disposition, Disposition Date and Sentencing, must all be clearly identifiable. Supplemental data such as amended information and warrant details must also be identified and collectable with a level of consistency equal to what a field researcher would find in court.
Assuming a site can pass the initial review phase described above, the process by which a site will then grow from a possible to an actual agent includes additional vetting that can either further affirm the integrity of the site or cause it to be disqualified from the list of sources we adopt as our default process.