FAIRMONT – Retiring Marion County Circuit Clerk Barbara Core will become the state courts system’s liaison between it and a private company developing electronic filing for circuit courts statewide.

Core retired Aug. 28 after 26 years in office and was replaced by Rhonda Starn, her chief deputy clerk for 16 years. On Sept. 1, Core will become liaison between the state judicial system and On-Line Information Services of Mobile, Ala.

The company will provide the electronic capability that will allow electronic filing using Software Systems of Morgantown’s case management system.

Marion County is one of 14 counties that will use the pilot system that is being developed.

The project was announced Aug. 8 in a report that probed the accidental release of a prisoner by Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Carrie Webster. The release brought a bigger problem to a head, the state Supreme Court said in the report.

That problem is the varying filing systems in county courts.

“(M)any users of the Kanawha County Circuit Clerk’s Office processes are confused by them,” the report says.

“Some of that office’s users have called it ‘an error magnet’ in the way that motions can result in the creation of separate case numbers and several different numbers are often used in reference to a single case and, further, that separate case numbers can actually appear to be completely separate cases when in fact they are not.”

In response, the court has selected 14 counties to be pilot counties for the roll-out of an electronic operating system provided by Software Systems. Those counties are Berkeley, Braxton, Cabell, Hampshire, Harrison, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Morgan, Ohio, Randolph, Upshur and Wood.

Software Systems will partner with On-Line Information Services of Alabama to provide e-filing and electronic bill-paying for purposes of the pilot.

The issue began in March when the Charleston Gazette published a story detailing the accidental release of Jeremy Carter, a man who was incarcerated at South Central Regional Jail. There was confusion surrounding a group of dismissal orders Webster had filed.

Carter had been arrested for attempted kidnapping.

The article reported Webster intended to dismiss a motion for a psychiatric evaluation in the case.

Instead, she was notified that she dropped the entire case, and Carter had been released from the South Central Regional Jail, the story reported.

Marion and Jefferson counties will be the first to go online with electronic filing.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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