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E-filing to get hearing in front of high court

By: Eric Heisig//November 17, 2014//

E-filing to get hearing in front of high court

By: Eric Heisig//November 17, 2014//

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Despite objections from two justices, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hold a public hearing in the spring on a proposal to mandate e-filing in all circuit court cases.

The rule was put forth last month by the state’s chief judges committee. The implementation, if passed, would start in January 2016 and last through December 2018.

On Monday, during the court’s rules conference, the justices voted 5-2 to hold the hearing. Justices Pat Roggensack and Annette Ziegler voted against it.

Both said they are not opposed to e-filing, but noted that the court is trying to proceed with a program that has not yet been paid for in the state budget.

In order for the program to begin, though, the Legislature and governor would need to approve a $2.1 million request for eight staffers. The Legislature reconvenes in January to work on the budget.

Still, other justices said they voted for it in order to get the program rolling in time for the next budget to begin. Court Commissioner Julie Rich also said the chief judges committee knows that the program’s implementation is contingent on having money allocated for it.

According to a report released in August by the subcommittee, only 25 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties use some sort of e-filing, and between 2009 and 2013, less than 1 percent of all small claims, civil and family cases were filed electronically.

On the same day, the justices will also hold a hearing for a petition filed Nov. 3 that would establish procedures on redacting and sealing cases with sensitive information that includes Social Security, driver’s license, bank account and credit card numbers.

The court decided to hear the two together since they are intertwined and would affect how court cases are filed under a new electronic system.

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