Blending all the local municipal justice-court records into a statewide computer system is an excellent idea, although it might be difficult to achieve by the 2011 date set by the Utah State Legislature, according to a recently released report.

The Utah Legislative Auditor's Office has released a performance audit evaluating the conversion of the state's 137 municipal justice courts to a standard computerized record-keeping system called CORIS.

The state Legislature decided in 2008 that the justice courts, which handle class B and class C misdemeanors along with local ordinance infractions, should be on the same system.

The report said having a common system with all municipal court records would be a huge boon to trial courts, which handle more serious cases, and would also would help law enforcement agencies.

"In our opinion, the ability to electronically, easily and reliably search all of Utah's court records, across all jurisdictions, for DUI information or other criminal records, is the most important outcome of this CORIS conversion project and of the utmost importance to the public safety," the report said.

Despite a caution in the report that it may be difficult to switch things over by the July 1, 2011 deadline set by the Legislature, Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham wrote that "we remain committed" to making the change by 2011.

— Linda Thomson