RIVERSIDE – People seeking information on criminal and civil cases via the Riverside County Superior Court website can now obtain documents nearly instantaneously — at a cost — instead of waiting for a clerk to send them.
The change to the court’s Online Copy Request System went into effect this week and is intended to save requesters time, according to Superior Court Chief Deputy of Information Technology Gary Whitehead.
”Until now, staff had to fulfill requests from the public,” Whitehead said. ”There was a clerk in the middle of it, printing, scanning and sending the documents. But the process is now totally automated.”
Court website users are able to bring up basic information on civil and criminal cases, including the character of a hearing, dates and times, names of attorneys and bail amounts. However, when trying to access minute orders in a criminal case that contain a clerk’s notes on the disposition — such as whether it was continued and why, or the length of a sentence — users must submit an online request.
Requests previously had to be vetted by a clerk, who sent documents via the postal service or placed them in an online attachment and sent them via email. Depending on the clerk’s availability, the process could take from a few minutes to several days.
Whitehead said with the automated system, requesters should not ever have to wait more than five minutes for a minute order or other non-certified document to be sent electronically. He said certified documents — such as a decree from a divorce proceeding — must still be vetted by a clerk before they can be sent out.
For each page of a non-certified document from a civil case, a user will be charged 50 cents. Minute orders cost a flat $1 apiece.