LAWRENCE COUNTY Criminal court records to go on the Internet

Civil-court records will likely go online after January 2005.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County's criminal court records are going online.
The county is expected to become part of the statewide Unified Judicial System Web docket access Feb. 2. That means anyone can access basic information about criminal court cases via the Internet.
Lawrence County will be the sixth Pennsylvania county to have its records available on the Internet. Cumberland, Clarion, Armstrong, Westmoreland and Greene counties are already available. Mercer County is expected to be online in April.
Art Heinz, spokesman for the administrative office of the Pennsylvania Court System, said the goal is to have every Pennsylvania county's common pleas court docket online by 2005.
While the general public can only see basic information such as charges filed and hearing dates, judges and others in the court system will see more detailed information about defendants.
"When people are being sentenced, judges will be able to look all over the state of Pennsylvania to see if the perpetrators have any other records," said Helen Morgan, Lawrence County's Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts.
"This system is going to allow case information to move around more quickly and consistently through the criminal courts," Heinz added.
Civil cases
Morgan's office also handles civil cases, and those will not be part of the new state Internet-based access. Heinz said civil cases may be added online sometime after January 2005.
Morgan's staff has been in training on the new system with people from the state over the last few weeks.
They had intended to get Lawrence County's records online today, but didn't have the necessary wiring done, Morgan said.