LARGO — A new $10 million computer system that tracks civil, criminal, traffic and other court records is now online, and officials say it will eventually help make it easier to read many court files from a home or office computer.
The new system, called Odyssey, can be used by the public as well as police, prosecutors, public defenders and others. For the public, it can be used for many tasks, including finding the date of an upcoming court hearing or learning whether a job applicant has an arrest record in Pinellas County. Access it at pinellasclerk.org and click on "search records."
The new system was praised at a news conference Monday attended by Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Thomas McGrady, Pinellas Clerk Ken Burke, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, and Tom Bartel, a vice president of Texas-based Tyler Technologies, which developed the system.
The system also is designed to work with images, so that eventually the public will be able to read more court documents online, without going to a courthouse to do so. But this transition will not be fast. Burke said the Florida Supreme Court has issued an administrative order detailing which court records can be publicly posted and when. Under this process, some court records, such as divorce files, will not be posted online, even though they are public to anyone who requests them in the courthouse.
Officials also said the new system should be much easier to modify than its 30-year-old predecessor, which was called the Consolidated Justice Information System, and was written in the COBOL programming language.