Which court will abandon V4 first due to budget constraints?

Posted on July 2, 2011

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As explained by other posts, the Court Case Management System Version 4 (herein referred to as V4) can only be deployed statewide if either a) The AOC pays for the installation and migration, maintenance and operations of more than half of the county courts in this state or b) that the courts with the resources will overpay the AOC subsidize the courts without resources.

When it comes to the telecommunications infrastructure required to support the application, these costs will be borne entirely by the local court without any subsidies from anyone. These connections will cost somewhere north of ten grand per month to leave a court’s entire operations hanging on by the thread of the singular connection to the California Courts Technology Center. (herein referred to as the CCTC)

While carrier diversity (running two telecom lines from every court, one on one telecom carrier like AT&T and another with a second telecom carrier like Verizon) would increase the reliability of the connections to the CCTC, the LATA carve-up (Local Access Toll Area supported by a single telecom carrier) serves to ensure that only the largest carriers with the most customers to gain will deploy a separate telecommunications infrastructure in any given area. This means that the areas without high population densities will be served by only one telecommunications carrier. Even if two carriers exist in any given area, what court would be willing to invest somewhere north of twenty grand per month to ensure their entire court operations are not at risk of hanging on by the thread of a singular connection? As illustrated by Sacramento, these connections drop and when they do, you are out of business. Sometimes for as long as a full day.

Enter the recently announced, sobering budget cuts.

Some court out there, likely one of the first of the so-called ‘early adopter’ courts and probably the largest of early adopter courts can no longer ignore the issue of costs. While the AOC could care less if you lay off half of your staff to bring their pipe dream to fruition in this austere fiscal year, prudence dictates that a local business unit conduct a proper business analysis of how much damage migration to V4 will cost the local court. In plain english, how many people must lose their jobs to migrate to a platform that takes more man-hours to operate when they will have less man-hours available to do so?

Enter San Diego.

San Diego is the largest of the so-called early adopter courts. San Diego also happens to have the most to lose by migrating to V4. We’re not sure how Michael Roddy will ever accomplish making this business case without misrepresenting both the challenges and the risks. Indeed, the thought that the AOC would be spending 125 million dollars on CCMS this fiscal year should spell out that there remains serious unresolved issues with V4.  Just the thought that the AOC must pour truckloads of cash into in the current fiscal year should serve to put the San Diego bench on notice that the AOC is again misrepresenting the completeness and integrity of the V4 application. While we’re already aware that Mr. Roddy is a fool and has earned his spot in digital purgatory, (and we could list a host of other reasons why he exists on the wall of shame) will the San Diego courts be willing to risk their entire business operation on the word of someone with nothing to lose?

From our perspective, the San Diego courts would have better odds taking that migration money out to Barona (an indian casino in the local area) than it would to invest it into the AOC’s pipe dream. Add to this all of the budget cuts coming San Diego way that haven’t yet hit their doorstep and we here at Judicial Council Watcher cannot fathom that the bench would be willing to take that kind of foolish risk. Not too long ago, the San Diego courts also issued an RFP for deployment and integration of a file management system based on V3 and we strongly suspect that the writing is on the wall, yet the ink has not yet dried. It is as if Mr. Roddy is playing both sides of the fence to avoid coming under fire from either side. We believe that the intelligent life down in San Diego will be forced to make Mr. Roddy get off the fence for good. Exactly what does that mean to the rest of the early adopter courts? Does San Luis Obispo have deep pockets or will these budget cuts place them in a similar situation? How about Ventura?

If there is intelligent life on the San Diego bench we’re betting on hearing any day now that V4 is dead to the San Diego courts and that they will utilize what scarce funding they have to deploy a file management system onto their existing V3 platform and call it a day, leaving a half billion dollar application serving enough judges to count on all of your fingers and toes, if even that happens. We expect that courts will be forced to drift away from V4.

We’re just patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop, spelling the death of CCMS from a court perspective, while Mr. Moore blows 125 million on V4 in an attempt to cover his ass for accepting a defective application. 125 million dollars that could be better spent elsewhere and will earn Mark Moore his own special place in Digital Purgatory.

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