Why Has the RI AG Waited Until the End of his Tenure to Implement an Electronic Centralized Case Management System?
As a function of one of my jobs, I review state RFP’s to see if the state needs anything that my employer can supply. It’s an interesting task, in part, because it’s a way to see first hand what various state departments are spending tax dollars on. Most of the time, expenditures seem pretty straight forward; the only jarring aspect is how long the list always is and how expensive many of the projects are, invariably leading me to wonder, “Do these people know how broke we are?”
Today, an RFP, one posted by the Office of the Attorney General, popped out for a different reason.
RFP # 7323420
with this eye opener on page 7.
Currently, with the voluminous records and data we have accumulated over time, we still can not electronically ascertain if a defendant, victim or witness has an
association with any other criminal matter, has testified before in another venue or
has a conflict through an association with other defendants, victims or witnesses, and
frequently must rely on staff’s independent recollection of the individual. A
centralized case management system would provide name association tables that
track individuals and relationships, independent of individual staff memory of events. …
The Attorney General’s Office would not be able to comply with any requirement for electronic filing, unless we first begin the process by implementing a case management system that maintains an electronic case file which contains all relevant documents and records in a centralized manner.
Now, to be clear, the individual records of defendants are centralized in digital form. So a prosecutor can quickly determine whether a defendant has a prior record. But the need does not stop there, as the RFP itself states. A comprehensive centralized record system would seem like quite an important tool for the Office of Attorney General.
Hasn’t the Attorney General been quite irresponsible in allowing a critical part of our justice system (i.e., his office) to “rely on staff’s independent recollection of the individual” for the last seven years?