Image by Flickr user kozumel
From a Post and Courier report:
When the reporter said he would take the form with him, the employee said no. "I'll take the form back," she said, then steamed as the reporter copied the language of the form onto a notepad.
That's only the beginning of the process. If a member of the public requests information about a Charleston municipal court case, the city still has two weeks to send a letter simply acknowledging the request for information. The city can take even longer to fulfill the request.
While there's often a high initial investment towards going paperless and online, it's not hard to envision the savings from reduced paperwork storage, reduced man hours, and public efficiency.
There's really no good reason why our area is so lacking in public transparency of online data. And the lack of municipal court info is just another aspect of that.
While I'm on the topic, I'll also point out the lack of online reporting of police incidents. If incidents were posted online in a standardized format, it could not only be good for reporters but allow for automated systems to grow.
Just imagine getting a tweet whenever a mugging had happened within 500 feet of your home address.