Super Bowl Planning Pays Off
More than two years of planning paid off when Super Bowl LII came to U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis at the end of January 2018.
During the week prior to the game on February 4, many hearings were redistributed to other weeks and from the Hennepin County Government Center to Hennepin County court locations outside downtown Minneapolis, including Brooklyn Center, Edina, and Minnetonka. Hearings in downtown Minneapolis were limited to mandatory hearings and in-custody hearings only.
As a result, the impact on operations at the Government Center was minimal.
Self-Help Centers See Increased Efficiencies
Local investments in the walk-in self-help centers in the Fourth District in 2018 have resulted in increased efficiencies and better customer service.
Both walk-in self-help center (SHC) locations successfully implemented Q-Flow, electronic queueing software, for customer service functions. Q-Flow also captures critical data and generates reports, which has led to more accurate and comprehensive SHC statistics.
The walk-in SHC in the Family Justice Center in downtown Minneapolis also successfully integrated additional intake functions for Family Court Filing and Records. Having a “one-stop shop” for all first floor Family Court services – Filing, Records, and Self-Help – has reduced inefficiencies, fostered increased divisional collaboration, and provided a high-quality, consistent customer experience for the public.
Judicial Officers Connect with the Public on National Night Out
On August 7, 2018, judicial officers from Hennepin County District Court participated in the 34th annual National Night Out celebration in Minneapolis. Judicial officers visited several neighborhoods throughout the City, connecting with community members and organizers in attendance at the various block parties.
Hennepin County District Court Holds Open Courthouse Event
On September 21, 2018, the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis opened its doors to the public as part of a Constitution Day “Open Courthouse” event.
The free, open-to-the public event was held to showcase the work of Minnesota’s courts and educate the public about the work of judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and citizens in administering the state’s justice system.
The event featured numerous activities, including:
- A special short welcoming presentation featuring local judges, as well as justices from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- An opportunity to meet local district court judges and justice system partners.
- Self-guided “behind-the-scenes” tours of Hennepin County District Court, with presentations by judges.
- Free, one-on-one legal assistance provided through the walk-in Self-Help Center in the Government Center.
- An information fair with representatives from numerous law- and justice-related organizations.
- Information on legal resources and other services available in the community.
The Open Courthouse event was scheduled to coincide with Constitution Day, a federal day of observance during which Americans reflect on the rights and freedoms granted to them through the signing of the United States Constitution.
The event was hosted by Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District in partnership with Hennepin County and local justice partners.
Psychological Services Division Develops Postdoctoral Training Program
The Hennepin County District Court Psychological Services Division developed a postdoctoral training program in 2018, and successfully trained its first two postdocs. The program is helping to provide a recruitment track for qualified employees, and is keeping the Division up-to-date in the field of psychological services.
The Psychological Services Division provides court-ordered forensic psychological evaluations of adults involved in Criminal Court or Family Court custody/visitation cases, and juveniles involved in delinquency cases, in Hennepin County.
Hennepin County District Court Concludes Successful Pilot of eReminders
Hennepin County District Court concluded a successful pilot in 2018 of eReminders, which were sent by text or e-mail to remind defendants about their upcoming court hearings. A statewide expansion of that pilot is planned for 2019.
The first 13 months of the eReminder project showed a 30% reduction in failures to appear in criminal cases when the Court was able to successfully remind defendants to come to court. Previously, there was a 10% no show rate per hearing, and that dropped to seven percent per hearing.
The Court also saw a 15% reduction in the number of bench warrants issued for failures to appear during that same time period, even though there was a higher number of cases filed.
One challenge of the pilot was getting litigants to provide their cell phone numbers or email addresses so they could be reminded of their next appearances; about 54% of litigants have opted in for the new service.
eReminders do not take the place of formal hearing notifications from the Court, which still occur. There is no indication in the case management system that a reminder has gone out, meaning that whether or not a defendant receives a reminder cannot be used for or against his or her case.