Porter County Judge Mary Harper said the county courts system and probation
departments are on board to “make the move into the 21st century” changing
over from the current, and outdated, case management system to the state’s
fully-integrated Odyssey system that will make it easier for court workers
and the public to access court dockets via the Internet.
A resolution to adopt the Odyssey system was approved by the County Board of
Commissioners last week. Mid-September is the target date to go live with
Odyssey, but Harper said there is “a lot of work” to be done between now and
According to Indiana’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee’s
webpage, the Web-based Odyssey system creates a central site for all Indiana
counties to input court dockets and share information. It is also a
“person-based system,” the webpage says, with a directory for users to see
all criminal cases that a defendant has in multiple counties.
This system will benefit Porter County judges by giving them better
knowledge of offenders who have criminal histories in other counties, Harper
said. Right now, the Porter County courts are working “in a vacuum” with its
current JaLan management system which Harper said has been “less than user
friendly for quite some time” and has had quality issues. The County began
using the DOS-based JaLan in 2000.
But with Odyssey, courts and clerk offices can manage caseloads faster and
more efficiently, probation officers can better monitor individuals and
report on case activity, trial court operations are less costly, and it also
means fewer trips to the courthouse for the public since court information,
or at least some of it, will be available online.
“Ultimately it is where everyone is going,” Harper said.
IT Director Sharon Lippens said at the Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday that
the Odyssey service is supported by state tax dollars and is free of charge
to the counties. It will also provide a yearly savings of roughly $25,000,
she said, now that the probation departments will no longer have to pay a
maintenance fee for the JaLan system.
Case records of those counties in the Odyssey system, both civil and
criminal, can be viewed for free at mycase.in.gov.
For criminal cases, the site does not offer views of a defendant’s entire
case file such as affidavits of probable cause but the dockets do give a
rundown of events in history of cases such as hearing schedules, plea
agreements filed, and sentencing. Site users can see what charges have been
filed in the case, what court the case is assigned to and the attorneys
Public case records on paper will still be available upon request at the
county clerk’s office.
Harper said the Odyssey system gives judges and probation officers a high
level of clearance over the “average Joe” to view their respective cases and
that juvenile records will not available to the public.
Other features on Odyssey include better functionality with the JTAC’s new
e-ticketing software for traffic infractions. It will also link data and
records to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and to federal sources like the
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention which provide funds to
the state, Harper said.
Only half the counties in Indiana (46 out of 92) have converted to Odyssey
since the Indiana Supreme Court signed on with its manufacturer Tyler
Technologies in 2010, based on a recommendation from its JTAC.
Lippens said one of the reasons not all the counties in Indiana have made
the transition may be because they have worked a long time with their
current systems and are reluctant to change.