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Problem-Solving & Specialty Courts
The Criminal Division operates several Problem-Solving and Specialty courts that each have its own calendar and focus on a particular case type. This helps to reduce delays and process those cases more efficiently.
The Community Court is a daily calendar of arraignment hearings (first appearances) of Minneapolis cases involving misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges for offenses that impact the livability of communities (e.g., disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, vagrancy, indecent conduct, prostitution, misdemeanor drug offenses, burglary, etc.). These cases usually do not involve traffic or domestic violence cases. The arraignment hearings are located in courtrooms at the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility.
Domestic Violence Court
The Domestic Violence Court handles all pre-trial and post-trial Minneapolis cases involving misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor domestic cases, including:
- disorderly conduct
- conditional release
- interference with emergency or 911 call
- probation violation in domestic cases
- violation of harassment restraining order
- violation of "no contact" order under MN Statute § 518B
- violation of protection order
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The Fourth Judicial District Court and Hennepin County implemented Drug Court in 1997, and revised the program in 2007, with the mission to increase public safety, improve chemical health, and reduce crime by targeting the population of adult, non-violent, chemically dependent, felony property and drug offenders, who are at high risk to re-offend. Drug Court is a voluntary, minimum 12-month, post-conviction program involving the coordinated efforts of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, law enforcement, social services, probation, and treatment specialists. Their goal is to quickly identify and intervene in order to break the cycle of chemical dependency and crime.
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DWI Court is a voluntary, minimum 18-month, post-conviction program involving the coordinated efforts of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, law enforcement, social services, probation, treatment specialists, and victim advocates to quickly identify and intervene in order to break the cycle of chemical dependency and drunk driving.
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Criminal Mental Health Court
Criminal Mental Health Court is an innovative program that capitalizes on the Criminal Court involvement in the identification of individuals with mental illness with unmet health care needs, for setting into motion a rapid response to these needs, and for using the court involvement as means for maximizing compliance. This program has been nationally recognized as a leader in innovation, and the operation of Mental Health Court has stimulated a change in the manner that defendants with mental illness are responded to by both the mental health system and the correctional system.
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The Veterans Court pilot program provides a coordinated response to the needs and risks of veterans involved in the criminal justice system. Veterans Court uses a multi-disciplinary team and creates a seamless referral process from the District Court and Hennepin County Veterans' Service to VA hospitals and local treatment and probation services. Veterans Court is designed to promote access to and quality of services to veterans.
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