The minutes of the daily court proceedings in the three criminal divisions are now being retained in electronic format. These minutes have historically been kept in large leather binders located in a file room in the clerk’s office.
“Since the beginning of time, our office has retained a printed copy of the daily proceedings in each of the three criminal courts, which are courts of record as designated by the State of Tennessee,” says Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk Vince Dean.
“Typically, preparing these minutes for retention requires them to first be printed off on regular weight, legal size paper and then be scanned and printed a second time onto a heavier, archival-grade paper.
“We took the costs of the paper, ink and binders, the expense of maintaining and replacing the equipment and the time required to maintain and store the binders into account as we considered moving away from keeping hard copies.”
Dean says he does not know how much money the switch to electronic storage will save, but he expects it to be appreciable.
Transcribing the court minutes is just one of many functions the deputy clerks perform on a daily basis. Several months ago, Criminal Court Clerk Chief of Staff Brad Tucker began researching a Tennessee law that would allow for the minutes to be retained electronically if certain criteria were met.
Since then, Tucker and several other members of the staff have been working with Hamilton County’s information technology department to satisfy the requirements of that state law.
“To maintain the integrity of these documents is paramount,” Tucker says. “Given the assurances we have received from the University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance Service, I’m confident we’re in compliance.”
“This is one more step toward a paper-on-demand criminal court system,” adds Dean. “Having the minutes readily available will greatly enhance the efficiency in fulfilling requests for records.”
Existing minutes that are currently in printed form will be archived.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk’s Office