By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The wheels of justice could grind a little faster under a proposal to bring WiFi to Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center.

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The question is, will the mayor and city council agree to pay for it?

“This isn’t just a request to keep up with the Joneses,” says Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper.

She told city council members that WiFi is sorely needed in the courtrooms of the Criminal Justice Center, and in the civil courtrooms at City Hall:

“Our law clerks (would be) able to update the judges on a regular basis.  For the lawyers who come to court, it would enable them to access information and stop causing delays in the courtroom.”

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Woods-Skipper said bringing WiFi to the court house will also allow everyone to make better use of electronic court filings:

“We have basically gone paperless.  We need to access our document management systems.  We have e-filing.  This will enable everyone to access information regularly, at any place and at any time.”

Woods-Skipper is asking City Council for an extra $729,000 above the current proposed budget to bring WiFi to both the CJC and City Hall courtrooms.  It is one of nine items on the wish list given to city council by First Judicial District leaders — a list that totals more than $3 million.

The Council members were non-committal about the request.  They and the mayor are not expected to settle on a budget deal until June.

The Criminal Justice Center, at 13th and Filbert Streets, opened in 1994.

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