The Supreme Court of Virginia may be in jeopardy of losing control of the statewide case and financial systems for state courts.
The House has already adopted by a 67-32 vote House Bill 1946, sponsored by Del. Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover, which would allow circuit court clerks to develop their own systems.
Today, the Senate Courts of Justice reported a similar bill, SB 1442 sponsored by Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, to the full Senate on a 9-6 vote. Only three circuit courts now have their own systems.
Under the legislation, the clerks who decide to develop their own systems would have to pay for the interface between their systems and that of the Supreme Court.
Katya Herndon, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, said the result may be a proliferation of systems created by independent vendors that are expensive and duplicative. Moreover, creating interfaces is a complicated and time-consuming process, she told the committee.
Committee Chairman Henry L. Marsh III agreed with Herndon. At the very least, such a sweeping change should be the result of a study, he said.
Stolle was unimpressed. “Is this another example of the Supreme Court having to control everything?” he asked Herndon. He said he believes the court system is too centralized now. “I think it’s a dangerous path that the Supreme Court is going down.”
By Alan Cooper