Public Defender Saves Countless Hours

With 36 attorneys and 10 support staff, the Kane County Public Defender’s Office handles approximately 18,000 new cases annually. Their office used to work its caseload using Access databases, Excel spreadsheets, and homegrown SQL databases. This resulted in staff performing inefficient duplicate data entry that was laborious, time consuming, and prone to errors.

In December of 2016, Kane County launched Odyssey, which unified case management across the circuit clerk, the court, the state’s attorney, and the public defender. This system became the single source to access documents and digital evidence. For the public defender’s office, the system streamlined case initiation and unified data from those siloed spreadsheets and databases to help streamline operations. Today, new case initiation takes, on average, three minutes as opposed to the 15 minutes it took pre-Odyssey.

Odyssey also enabled the public defender’s office to transition to a paperless office. They digitized case files over the course of 18 months and where tens of thousands of paper-based case files once were housed; two new offices were created for investigators. Several hours a week are saved by not gathering up paper cases files, transporting them to and from court, and then refiling them; everything is scanned and made available through Odyssey. Since going paperless, the public defender’s office has achieved a 100% utilization rate among its staff including complex felony criminal cases.

Case Study Highlights

  • Developed unified case management system that enabled easy collaboration among all justice partners
  • Reduced new case initiation from 15 minutes to three minutes
  • Transitioned to a paperless office, with all case file information digitized for all justice partners to access

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