Hello eCourt Kokua, Goodbye CourtConnect
The Hawaii State Judiciary has been increasing its use of online Internet programs to operate more efficiently and better serve the public.
Earlier this year, the Judiciary started using social media to inform Twitter fans and Facebook followers about the potential impact of legislative bills on the court system and its users. Now, appellate opinions, judicial selections, furlough dates and other news are routinely “tweeted” and posted, as well as made available on the Judiciary’s website.
The latest major Internet-related development is called eCourt Kokua. eCourt Kokua replaced CourtConnect, and, like CourtConnect, it interfaces online users with the Judiciary’s case management database (aka JIMS for Judiciary Information Management System).
JIMS contains traffic case information going back to 1994. In the next few years, however, when the system is fully phased in, JIMS will contain case information on all cases filed statewide in the appellate, circuit, family and district courts.
eCourt Kokua not only looks different than CourtConnect, it is easier to use and has many new and helpful features. eCourt Kokua:
- Clearly notes -- in bold and near the top of the webpage – all bench warrants, drivers license stoppers or vehicle registration stoppers ordered by the court. In CourtConnect, users had to scroll through the list of docket entries to find out if a bench warrant was outstanding or if a stopper was placed.
- Provides the total amount of outstanding fines and fees in a “Balance Due” field near the top of the webpage. This function was not available in CourtConnect.
- Allows users to search for a parking case by entering the license plate number, vehicle identification number (VIN) or citation number. (Generally, the VIN is used only when the cited vehicle lacks a license plate number.) CourtConnect users were able to search for a parking case only if they had the citation number.
- Lists all scheduled court hearings in one area, including the date, time, courtroom number, location and name of the presiding judge. In CourtConnect, scheduled court dates were part of the list of docket entries and were not easy to find.
- Identifies witnesses and other persons affiliated with the case as well as the defendant and law enforcement officer. CourtConnect listed only the defendant and law enforcement officer.
- Is searchable using a unique party identification (ID) number (assigned to parties by the Judiciary when a case is first opened), if that number is known to the user. The ID helps a user differentiate between parties who have the same or similar name as other parties in the database.
To access eCourt Kokua, go to: www.courts.state.hi.us/legal_references/records/jims_system_availability.html.