oxford, Maine

Maine court system signs deal with Tyler Technologies to computerize records

The 10-year, $15 million contract will shift state courts
away from their paper-based system in stages.

by Noel Gallagher, staff writer Portland Press Herald Dec. 20, 2016

Maine’s court system is moving into the modern computer age with a $15 million contract with Tyler Technologies to computerize all the paperwork for Maine District, Superior and Supreme Judicial courts.

“For 200 years, we have been a paper-based court system,” said supreme court Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley, who announced the 10-year contract on Tuesday.

The new system, called Odyssey software, is comparable to the electronic Pacer system used by the federal courts, said court spokeswoman Mary Ann Lynch. Cases can be initiated and motions filed remotely at any time and users can access case files online. It will also be used for scheduling and to track bail, warrants and protection orders.

“It will greatly enhance public safety and accessibility,” Saufley said. “Ultimately we will save thousands of square feet of courthouse space currently used for paper file storage.”

The Maine Legislature approved the funding several years ago, and court officials wanted an off-the-shelf product instead of building a custom software system. Plano, Texas-based Tyler Technologies was the lowest of several bidders, Lynch said.

Maine is the 12th state to adopt the Odyssey software system, which is used by more than 600 county courts, serving more than 100 million people. Maine will shift to the Odyssey system in stages, working systematically through the state’s eight judicial regions. The first region is expected to be completed in 2019, with statewide implementation in 2021.

Lynch said it wasn’t immediately clear whether moving to a computerized system will affect the number of court employees.

“We think it will change the nature of the work our clerks will do,” Lynch said. Instead of stamping paper and filing, the clerks will be able to make sure filings are complete, for example. It will take several years to transition to a completely electronic system and the courts will not convert old paperwork to electronic form, she said.

“It’s too soon to see what the efficiencies will be,” Lynch said.

Users will find it easy to navigate, she said.

“I would say lawyers, especially those that practice in the federal courts and are familiar with the federal Pacer system, have been looking forward to this.”

Tyler Technologies, which employs 3,800 people nationwide, has three Maine offices and plans to double its Maine workforce to 1,100 people in the next few years.

The company develops software for municipalities and other government agencies. Its products include software to run dispatch systems, mobile communications and record management for public safety agencies, and personnel and financial functions for school departments.

The Enterprise Resource Planning and School division is headquartered in Yarmouth, as are several top executives, including CEO John Marr Jr.