How One Tech-Savvy Judge Jury-Rigged an Online Court

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By Ben Ambrogi, Populus Radio, and Robert Ambrogi. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

As chair of the Specialty Treatment Courts in Jefferson Parish, La., Judge Scott U. Schlegel manages what may be one of the most advanced courts in the country for delivering justice online, and he does it almost entirely with off-the-shelf software he cobbled together himself.

Even before the coronavirus crisis caused courts to shut down, Judge Schlegel was conducting hearings via Zoom, scheduling sessions via Calendly, and communicating with staff and counsel via Slack.

But when courthouses in Jefferson Parish closed last month, it presented an even-greater challenge for the programs Judge Schlegel oversees, which focus on treatment and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol offenders.

With help from legal technology companies, he rallied to further innovate, working with LawDroid to create a text-based chatbot to check in on probationers and with Documate to develop an online system for defendants to enter guilty pleas from prison.

In this episode of LawNext, Judge Schlegel joins host Bob Ambrogi to describe the systems he has built and how they are being used to keep the wheels of justice turning even with courthouses shut down.

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