Chief justice: Public will be able to access court documents online for a fee
The judiciary Thursday announced that the public would be able to access some court documents online once the $15 million electronic case filing system is implemented over the next few years, but that it would not be free.
Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley said that the system would be similar to the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records or PACER. Subscribers to that system pay both an annual fee and a fee for each page viewed online.
The court has not yet determined what the cost for that system will be, who will be able to subscribe or what kinds of cases will be available on the internet.
Saufley made the unexpected announcement as a hearing on proposed rules submitted by a task force on transparency and privacy got underway at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. The task force recommended the public not have online access to court documents.
The chief justice’s announcement caught speakers who’d lined up to oppose the proposed rules off guard, including Mal Leary of Maine Public. He was the only member of the task force to recommend that what currently is public on paper at a courthouse should be public online.
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