Art. V Tech Board sets plans for permanent court computer panel October 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Art. V Tech Board sets plans for permanent court computer panel Jan Pudlow Senior Editor The Florida Bar should have a voice on the 11-member governance board of the permanent statewide group charged to oversee an integrated court computer system, and the Florida Supreme Court chief justice should appoint its chair.Those were among the recommendations of the Article V Technology Board, chaired by Second Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Charlie Francis, when the legislative-appointed committee met recently.Made up of a cross-section of the tech-savvy from a variety of court users, the board has a January 2006 deadline for its final report to the legislature. The proposed permanent board, if approved by the legislature, would pick up where they leave off.The permanent board’s mission is to advise the legislature, governor, and chief justice about security, access, and compliance issues involving a court computer system that talks to state computers. The integrated system would allow judges and other officers of the court to access information from state attorneys, public defenders, clerks, sheriffs, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Children and Families, and Department of Juvenile Justice.Board member Doug Mannheimer, a Tallahassee lawyer in private practice, noted that “The Florida Bar comes unbiased and doesn’t have an interagency bias.”Judge Francis added his support for a Florida Bar appointee.“They are the only ones looking at the civil aspect, which is 60 to 70 percent of the data in the courts, with family law, civil, and probate,” Francis said.“You need someone to raise issues of the practitioners in the civil division. What about child and family workers and attorneys that work in different agencies that are not law enforcement? How does this fit into their practices? Bar members have to speak up. If I am in private practice and not court-appointed to a case, should I have the same access?”The recommended members of the permanent statewide board are appointees by the following:• Florida Supreme Court• The Florida Bar• Florida Association of Counties• Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptroller• Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association• Florida Public Defender Association• Florida Sheriffs Association• Speaker of the House• Senate President• Governor• Criminal Justice Information System Council.“The statewide board makeup was the most significant step we made,” Judge Francis said of the August meeting that also included an intriguing presentation on a security solution called “digital birth certificates” from Ken Aull, of the Northrup Grumman Group. And Jon Mills recapped the highlights of a final report of the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Privacy and Court Records that he chaired. (See September 1 News for story on that committee’s final report.)A video of the complete August 19 meeting is available to watch online at www.articlevtechboard.state.fl.us.Noting that consensus was easily reached on the governance board, generally reflecting the makeup of the current Article V Tech Board, Francis added: “I think it acknowledges that the group felt comfortable with the people we have worked with.”Other suggestions include staggered terms for board members to keep continuity of institutional knowledge, quarterly reports, and a permanent paid staff.The board recommended that there be 20 circuit boards that would report to the statewide board.The big — and potentially contentious — issue of how to fund the statewide board and an integrated court computer system will be tops on the agenda when the Article V Tech Board was set to meet in Tallahassee on September 23, after this News went to press.