A local district judge has been appointed to a committee that will help determine the future of the state court system.
District Judge Chuck Baker was appointed in June by Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp to the Strategic Planning Committee for the judicial branch.
Kemp formed the committee after realizing that Arkansas had no strategic plan for the future of its court systems, Baker said.
Members of the 20-person committee will meet over a period of several years to formulate and implement a strategic plan by 2025, Baker said. Committee members are made up of judges, clerks and court reporters.
Baker is the only judge from the River Valley area appointed to the committee, he said.
“When we were appointed, one of the things the chief justice made clear was that he wanted us to reach out to other court personnel in our areas and seek feedback from them,” Baker said.
Baker has spoken to district judges and clerks in both Crawford and Sebastian counties, and both bar associations, he said.
Subcommittees were created to focus on three areas of the court system - technology and security, court administration and court integrity.
Baker was appointed to the technology and security subcommittee, he said.
“We have to figure out where the court system should be technologically by the year 2025,” Baker said.
Some issues Baker’s committee will focus on include social media and the court system’s methods of communication with the public, updating electronic systems in cities and counties throughout the state, and statewide court program updates.
While the job in front of Baker is “overwhelming,” he appreciates being chosen to participate, he said.
“A lot of people complain that small counties like Crawford don’t have a voice at the state level; now we have a voice,” Baker said.