Monday, January 18, 2010

Will Somone Tell The Santa Clara County Superior Court That This Is 2010

I mean really, is it so hard to have a court website that is actually worth the money you spent on it?

As it was explained to me, a few years ago (back before the turn of the century when the internet was still bubbling), the legislature decreed that all courts create a website to disseminate information. The problem was that it was left to the individual counties' courts to figure out how to do that. Now, if anyone has ever noticed, courts are great at sucking in information. They are not so good about giving it out.

(Ever wondered where they put up things that they are required by law to post at the court house? Its in the back and the last time I looked, it had notices on it from early 2009 and late 2008 for things that have long since happened, but it did not have a notice in a case that I was involved in, go figure.)

Now, the courts rightly figured that they hav ea lot of information that should never hit the internet. Like in Family Court, you have to give the court an insane amount of private information for tis files in order to get divorced. If some of that info were to ever get out, it would be Christmas in July for an identify thief.

However, there are a lot cases in which the only information is embarrassing stuff. Like which landlord failed to maintain heat for their tenants in the winter. Or which tenant failed to pay their rent. Or ... and the list goes on. Oddly enough, this stuff is all public record.

But a lot of the information is actually kind of important. Like, what court room is going to be having which hearing.

Finding it online is damn near impossible in some counties. Like Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara County Superior Court's case information (or the misnamed Public Access Case Information Site) barely gives the public any information. Hell, it barely gives attorneys any information. And with the Santa Clara County Clerk not liking me, its about the only way I can get information about minor things, like when the next freaking hearing is without going to the other side and begging them for the date. It makes no matter that I've sent in letters to the clerk of the court on this one. Aside from the notice of arbiters (which arrived late to the point that I had to send it back right away or miss the chance to strike an arbiter who was going to be heavily biased against my client) (One missed notice is understanable, twice happens occasionally, third, fourth, and fifth notices... I mean really) I have received nada. And since I sort of have to go to court on this one, it would be nice to find out which freaking court I am supposed to go to.

So now I am going to have to talk to the clerk's office again. Which under the best of circumstances is not to be desired (I mean, after all, their budget's been cut, they're understaffed to begin with and only a few of them speak English that would be recognizable to the Queen). (Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating about the last part, but my experience informs me otherwise.)

Wouldn't it just be easier to add in to the court room. I mean, you could slip it in to the Time Box and just rename it "Time and Dept".

Involved PartiesCalendared EventsDocuments
DateTimeEvent DescriptionResultNotice PrintedReset
X/XX/2010 11:00AM CV Trial Setting Conference None None None 12/21/09 None None
xx/X/2009 10:15AM CV Arb Order Review Hrng Award of Arb. Rec/Filed K 11/20/09 None None None

Honest. You could. It would save me wasting your time trying to sort this out in the morning.

Its not that hard. Talk to the fine gentlemen who run the San Francisco Superior Court's site. Or if you don;t like people having that easy a time finding case information, perhaps chat with the people at the Alameda County Superior Court. They have one that gives pretty good information too.

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