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A Pennsylvania pilot program on the Internet may help attorneys keep up-to-date on the status of cases winding through the appeals process. The Pennsylvania Appellate Court Management System, a joint effort by the state Superior Court and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, allows Internet users access to a search site linked to the main AOPC Web site to view the procedural status of cases on a docket sheet. Cases can be searched using the name of an attorney, a trial judge or party, a calendar date or a docket number. AOPC spokesman Art Heinz said the judiciary launched PACMS in late May. The Superior Court notified law firms that do a fair amount of appellate work but did not make a formal announcement until now, he said. Currently, the site only includes information on cases in Pennsylvania Superior Court. But Heinz said it is hoped that the supreme and commonwealth court dockets will be added to the site by the end of the year. The launch of PACMS marks another step in Pennsylvania’s effort to provide public access to court records, said Zygmont A. Pines, court administrator for the state. The effort began with a statewide, automated district justice system in 1992. In April 1995, Pennsylvania became the second state in the nation to operate a Web site and provide its appellate court opinions and other information to the public. In a statement released yesterday, Pines thanked Superior Court President Judge Joseph A. Del Sole for his support on the project. To access PACMS, visit the AOPC Web site at www.courts.state.pa.usand look for a pull-down menu on the upper left side of the screen. Click on “PACMS Docket Sheets” to access the docket search screen.

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