Marion County Becomes First To File Court Cases Electronically - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Marion County Becomes First To File Court Cases Electronically

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These days we do a lot of things online, shopping, booking hotels, even filing our taxes, but Marion County is adding one more thing to that list -- filing court cases.

48 out of 50 U.S. states file all of their court cases via paper, and Marion County took a huge step Tuesday by becoming the first county in the West Virginia to file electronically.

J. Scott Tharp is affectionately called the "Dean of the Bar." He was selected to he file the very first case, something he'd never have imagined when he starting practicing 55-years-ago.

"Internet, electronics, and so forth weren't even thought of," said Tharp. "When I first started practicing, I saw us get the first copy machine. This is something like Flash Gordon or Space Wars."

Tharp's office began filing the case shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, moments after he pressed finish, the document popped up across Jefferson Street in the Circuit Clerk's office.

"This is a step forward in technology and part of the evolution of our court system in West Virginia to be one of the most advanced and efficient in the entire United States," said Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin.

On Paper the project began less than a year ago, but for years former Marion County Circuit Clerk Barbara Core had dreamt of e-filing. That's one reason she was chosen to help lead the project.

"I thought there was no reason we could not be paperless," said Core who retired from the County to work as a consultant for Online Information Services and spearhead the project. "We need to save time money, and clear up space... In a short amount of time we've accomplished a whole lot."

"We're going to have a lot more efficient court system, a court system that doesn't cost as much for the tax payers or the people involved, and it will allow them more flexibility in how they handle their lawsuits, so it's a win-win for both the citizens and the court system," said Chief Justice Benjamin.

The pilot program contains 12 counties that should be up and e-filing by next year. Benjamin would not comment on how long it will take to have all 55 counties e-filing, noting that it will depend on how smooth the pilot program goes.

Marion County Circuit Clerk Rhonda Starn said Tuesday was a great day for her office.

"When I start seeing all of these come in through the computer, these cases filed, I think that's when it will really hit me," said Starn. "This is a wonderful day, a wonderful day. But I'm still numb about it because it feels so good."

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