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Why do county courts use so much paper when computer records are available to all?


Some hard copies of documents are still required by the courts.

County courts use paper records because certain judicial processes require hard copies of documents, according to Jan Kennedy, clerk of superior court for New Hanover County.

“Any time there is a motion filed, you need a paper copy,” Kennedy said. “So if someone was filing a motion to dismiss the case, for child support, or for divorce, we have to serve the defendant, the plaintiff, the opposing parties, the judge and we have to have a copy.”

Kennedy said she wasn’t sure exactly how much paper the court system uses in any given amount of time. However, new technologies have helped the court system reduce its paper usage in recent years. Arrest warrants, for example, are now generated electronically throughout the state, allowing police officers to print the document remotely. In the past, the court would print three separate copies, then send the warrant via snail mail.

Some counties in North Carolina have switched to an e-filing system that allows courts to file motions electronically, but Kennedy said she was unsure when the technology would be approved for use in New Hanover County.

“It will happen whenever the state gets enough money,” she said.

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