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State’s electronic court system expanding

The Mississippi Electronic Court system is adding to its database.

On March 18, electronic filing became mandatory in Grenada County Chancery court. On March 4, chancery courts in Holmes and Yazoo counties were brought online. Rankin County chancery court joined Feb. 4.

Chancery courts in Lowndes, Webster and Clay counties will soon mandate e-filing, though an exact date has not been set, according to a Mississippi Supreme Court press release. In all, chancery courts in those counties and in Madison, Harrison, DeSoto and Warren mandate e-filing.

Right now, MEC is used only for civil cases. Madison County Circuit Court will be the first to use it for criminal cases. Training for that started March 19, though an exact date for it to start is still unknown.

Madison County was the pilot site when the MEC started in 2009. The system was modeled after PACER, the federal courts’ e-filing database.

Both are designed to make filing more efficient for attorneys, and to expand public access to court files. Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. has spearheaded the system’s development.

“You can certainly get an order entered much quicker this way. In the past, even if you had an agreed order, you would leave it with my court administrator and I would sign it,” said chancery judge Percy Lynchard, whose district includes Grenada County, in the MSSC’s press release. “It saves a whole lot of paperwork, a whole lot of time and trouble, and a whole lot of miles to the courthouse,”

Free MEC training is available for attorneys at the Gartin Justice Building, which houses the MSSC and the Court of Appeals, in Jackson. Online registration is available here. Training dates will be set in April and May.

According to court figures, almost half of the 7,050 licensed attorneys in Mississippi have registered to use MEC. More than 1,200 non-attorneys have signed up.

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