Faulkner County residents will soon be able to view court documents and records online thanks to a new program from the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts.

Records from both civil and criminal cases in the circuit and district courts will be available through the AOC website.According to Circuit Judge David Reynolds, the program has been in the works for several years.

In 2001, the Administrative Office of the Courts received a grant and state funding to upgrade the courts’ computer systems. The organization began putting the program together with hopes of eventually moving to a completely electronic system.

Reynolds said he was in contact with people involved with the AOC and volunteered Faulkner County to be a pilot program for the system. As a pilot program, the courthouse received upgraded hardware, wireless Internet and all the necessary equipment to run the program for free.

"In my opinion, we’re one of the most technically advanced courthouses around," Reynolds said.

The AOC tried several different versions of the software before settling on the current product.

Faulkner County and the 20th Judicial District began implementation of the program in April. Garland, Hot Spring and Pulaski counties also recently began using the system. The AOC is hoping to have the system placed in other counties around the state soon.

Reynolds and Circuit Clerk Rhonda Warton said the new system will benefit not only county residents but courthouse officials, as well.

"It will be easy for everyone to access," Reynolds said. "It will really help me a lot. I can access district court files, find out if a case is pending or see if I should set a bond for someone or if they’ve already been sentenced in district court."

Wharton said it will help her office better serve county residents.

"If someone comes in asking about a case and it’s in district court, we can find it and give them the information they’re looking for," Wharton said.

Wharton said the system is simple to use, but has taken nearly seven months to put into place.

"It was quite a process," Wharton said. "It’s not just a matter of changing software, but converting all of our data for the site."

Reynolds said the program is scheduled to debut Monday, but it could be several days before all of the information is available.

Nearly every court document in the judicial district will be viewable online.

"If you want to see whether a divorce is final or if the paperwork is filed, it will be there," Reynolds said. "If you’re the victim in a case, you can find out when the case is going to trial."

Reynolds said while almost every court document will be available, some information, such as addresses and social security numbers will be redacted. Sealed court records will not be available online.

Reynolds said representatives from the Administrative Office of the Courts will be on hand at the courthouse Monday to assist the program’s debut.

Residents can visit caseinfo.aoc.arkansas.gov beginning Monday to view the documents.

Anyone with questions can contact the Faulkner County Circuit Clerk’s Office at 450-4911 or the Administrative Office of the Courts at 501-682-9400 or visit courts.state.ar.us.

(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at stephanie.fischer@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)