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South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal announced today that the South Carolina Judicial Department has received a $3.2M appropriation under the federal Crime Identification Technology Act (CITA). Speaking to the annual meeting of the South Carolina Bar, Chief Justice Toal applauded the key support of Senator Fritz Hollings in obtaining this $3.2M appropriation for the South Carolina Court System.  "Senator Fritz Hollings' leadership, as Commerce Committee Chairman and as a member of the Conference Committee for the Defense and Commerce Justice and State Appropriations Bills has given the South Carolina Court System a major opportunity to implement the South Carolina Judicial Department's Strategic Plan for Technology", Toal said. "The state will receive funds from the federal Commerce Justice and State Appropriations Bill 2002 to establish an internet technology infrastructure and case management system connecting the courts in the 46 counties," Toal explained.

"This is part of a five year technology plan for the South Carolina Courts which creates a statewide automated case management system and connects all levels of the court system with the other criminal justice agencies. This 3.2 million dollar appropriation will literally change the way our courts do business."

"An integrated case management system for South Carolina's 46 counties will deliver information and court records securely across the internet to the judges, the clerks of court, the legal community and the public. It will standardize the business process for all level courts across the state. The South Carolina Judicial Department is in the process of connecting the judges so they have access to the real time information needed to improve the delivery of justice. This will mean better, faster justice for the citizens of South Carolina."

"Because of South Carolina's size and current environment, our state is viewed as a manageable jurisdiction in which to test these new technologies. When completed, South Carolina's systems, processes, and methodologies will be a replicable model for other small and mid-size rural states."

Chief Justice Toal explained: "Senator Hollings convinced his colleagues in the national Congress that the collaboration and partnerships required among the federal, state and local criminal justice officials, especially those in rural areas, will make this initiative a model for other states. As Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce Justice and State Appropriations, Senator Hollings used his leadership to provide for technological capabilities and resources to collect and exchange information needed to address the critical issues of domestic violence, protective orders, warrants, and criminal charge tracking. This capability will vastly improve the court system for all citizens of South Carolina."

"This collaboration and modernization of the South Carolina Courts and the criminal justice information systems will also enable these agencies and counties to work in E government and the E business world. Without this modernization, the judicial branch of government would remain in the traditional manual paper-based world, and the caseload of the South Carolina Courts would continue to take longer to resolve."