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Technology upgrade allows online court case filing in Portage County


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Technology has made it possible for many new court cases to be filed from anywhere, online.  Portage County Clerk of Courts Patricia Baker says they are trying hard to make the technology upgrades to make everyone’s job more efficient and as paperless as possible.

Baker is also an experienced attorney, and knows the attorneys and judges are taking advantages of the changes.  “We have at least one judge that uses, um, I would say he doesn’t crack open a file hardly ever. Everything’s electronic for him. We’re trying to continue on that process.”

A few short years ago, Portage County was the only county that operated their own computer system, which was not a part of the state’s online CCAP system. Baker is glad that conversion is finished.  “We were last, and we were last by eight years. I have to say I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve made the conversion to CCAP. We’ve done it pretty smoothly and flawlessly. Every now and then, things creep up and we have to make some fixes and some changes, but for the most part, it’s been pretty flawless and I’m really proud of that and proud of the staff.”

Filing legal cases online is not just for attorneys. Baker says there are many other types of cases that can be filed online, such as small claims cases.  “We have many small claims filed by landlords around Portage County. They could start e-filing tomorrow.”

Most attorneys already have electronic access accounts, but any person that wants to file small claims can do so from their office or kitchen table as long as they have an Internet connection.

Just over 30 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are now able to accept new case filings online. Go to wicourts.gov and click the “quick links” tab near the top of the page to link to your county.

Portage County has a huge storage space issue, and the old paper files system just wasn’t working anymore. Baker says getting many of their existing case files into the electronic storage system was another necessity.  “We had at one point 79 boxes in our office stacked up one right after another, and it really was a safety hazard, so we’ve made a really big effort to try to scan documents and shred files, get rid of them, so filing electronically is just another step in that entire process.”

In central Wisconsin, Portage, Wood, Taylor, and Clark Counties offer e-filing for many types of new cases.

(Listen to our interview with Patricia Baker on our website, here.)