When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many court systems nationwide had to stop proceedings. But, thanks to an investment in technology modernization, including a shift to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, the New Jersey Courts system was able to stay operational without interruption, even with 99 percent of its staff working from home.
The courts system – which processes 7 million cases per year – had already migrated 40 applications to AWS last summer and had been using virtual courtrooms for criminal justice hearings for about three years. But, it was only seeing about 20 to 30 cases a week. Since March, the courts have facilitated more than 26,000 virtual court events with 217,000 participants.
“We already had the doors open; we just made them a lot bigger,” said Jack McCarthy, CIO, New Jersey Courts. “Our team did about six months of work in six days, building out capacity for our VPN and virtual desktops, expanding our virtual courts from 40 to 240, and helping our staff get functional at home.”
The judiciary still had a lot of paper documents coming in, so it built its Judiciary Electronic Document System (JEDS) on AWS in just two days, allowing litigants and attorneys to upload filings and pay fees online. The courts system received approximately 10,000 filings through JEDS in just a few weeks.
“We now have the ability and capacity to quickly spin up server instances in the cloud,” McCarthy said. “What previously would have taken us months, we can now knock out over a weekend and complete testing and piloting over the next week. Our transition and continued investment in the cloud gives us a much more modern system on which we can build for the future.”