Monday, May 24, 2010

Common Pleas courts start online payment system

Monday, May 24, 2010
By Anthony Fenech, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court payments have gone digital.

The court will offer "e-Pay," a Web-based application for Pennsylvania's criminal case management systems, allowing defendants to make court payments online with a credit or debit card.

"e-Pay is yet another tool designed by our Judicial Automation staff to assist court officials in performing their duties," said Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille.

Allegheny joins a dozen other state counties implementing the e-Pay service, something Steve Schell, spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, believes will benefit the court and citizens alike.

"Not only is it a convenience for the defendant who is making payments, it very much speeds up the process of receiving payments and reduces the need for court staff to re-enter payment data," Mr. Schell said.

In the last two months, the 12 county courts that began using e-Pay have received a total of more than $30,000 in online payments.

Last year, the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court processed more than $11.8 million in payments.

Mr. Schell expects the e-Pay system to be available at the magistrate level sometime next year, once the system is updated.

"We assume, since it's such a convenience, that court officials will sign up at the lower courts."

Anyone interested in making court payments online can navigate to the Unified Judicial Web Portal at Select the e-Commerce/e-Pay link, then search for cases or payment plans.

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