Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Check-In Kiosks Ease Montgomery County Court’s Caseflow

With anywhere between 5 and 15 court appearances a week, family law attorney Brian Sommers had his routine down pat when arriving for his hearings at the Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court.

But in June, his usual habit changed when the court invested in four check-in kiosks – the first of its kind in any Ohio court.

“It’s taken a little while to get used to but it’s much more efficient, and I think the clients are picking up on it and it’s good to see the courts trying to stay with the current technology,” Sommers said.

With the click of a mouse, the kiosks allow the receptionist, judges, and magistrates to know when attorneys and their clients are at the court. The kiosks also provide hearing times and directions to the correct courtrooms.

There are two judges and eight magistrates at the domestic relations court located in Dayton. Judge Denise Cross said on busy days each judge may have up to 50 cases in addition to the magistrates’ hearings.

“We use to have to rely upon one receptionist to let us know in 10 different courtrooms who’s here, who’s here, who’s here – we’re calling her, she is calling us and she’s also answering the public telephone,” Judge Cross said. “But now we can instantly know within seconds that a party is here, their lawyer is here, and we can call the case and get started.”

Court receptionist Sheila Jarvis said allowing attorneys and their clients to check-in helps with caseflow management.

“On the busy days it’s helpful because 4 people can check in at one time,” Jarvis said.

“The public is used to utilizing kiosks. You go to the airport you have them, you do self checkout at the grocery store. I mean computer systems are just things they expect to have,” Judge Cross said.

The entire kiosk system cost $25,000 with a yearly $3,000 fee to maintain the software. Judge Cross said it’s already proven to be cost effective based on the amount of time it saves.