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Milwaukee Municipal Court
 

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2012

 
 

 MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Municipal Court is to impartially adjudicate ordinance violation cases
such that legal rights of individuals are safeguarded and public interest is protected.
 
 

 SUMMARY OF STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

 Fair and reliable adjudication of cases

 Court accessibility to the public

 Effective enforcement of court judgments

 Accountability for public resources

 Enhanced public safety
 
 

 ASSETS AND CAPABILITIES FOR ACCOMPLISHING STRATEGIC PLAN

+    Independent judiciary.

+    Public trust in the honesty and fairness of the court.

+    Partnership between judges and staff.

+    Judicial and administrative interest in experimenting with different strategies to accomplish the court's mission.

+    Long record of success in implementing judicial and administrative innovations.

+    Staff flexibility.

+    Aggressive and creative problem-solving approach.

+    Availability of community organizations delivering alternative court services.

+    Cooperation from elected officials, City departments and other jurisdictions.

+    Close working relationship/active participation in the Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association.
 
 
 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

*    Processed 168,000 case filings and collected $6.8 million in net revenues - $1.5 million more than projected revenues.

*    Expanded the Community Court Initiative to include the REACH program and other community groups increasing the opportunities for defendants to resolve issues before the court through payment of fines or community service placements.

*    Participated in the development of pilot teen court program to be implemented in selected MPS schools.  This program is intended to reduce the number of juvenile citations that come before the court and to reduce the incidence of actions that lead to the issuance of citations.

*    Initiated evening court hours to provide defendants with the option to schedule appearances outside of their regular work or school day dramatically increasing appearance rates for scheduled court session.

*    Completed the remodeling of second floor space and the relocation of Wisconsin Correctional Service staff to that space - providing added privacy to WCS clients and more efficient work space for WCS staff.

*    Made the transition to a new collection agency -- resulting in increased collections overall and dramatic increases in collections due to their interface with in the State of Wisconsin Tax Intercept Program.

*    Fully implemented the State of Wisconsin Tax Intercept Program and dramatically increased revenues collected from defendants through the program.

*    Implemented a policy allowing for the acceptance of written stipulations from attorneys at the pre-trial stage of the adjudication process thereby reducing the number of in-person appearances by private attorneys and reducing the need for City Attorney appearances on these cases.

*    Implemented a policy to allow walk-in defendants with cases in more than one branch to be seen in one branch.  Defendants can now take care of their business with an appearance in one branch rather than being required to check-in and appear in all three branches.

*    Increased the number of telephone lines available to accept credit card payments, resulting in reductions in waiting time and increased use of this payment option.

*    Implemented procedures to reduce waiting time and lines at the court facility during peak times.

*    Reduction in the scheduled pre-trial calendar for Branch A resulting in savings in Court Commissioner time, additional time for court clerks to perform office duties, and time for City Attorney staff to devote to other duties.

*    Completed a mini reorganization of Court staff to improve service and achieve budget savings.

*    Stabilized the Court's computer system and increased reliability over 2002 levels.

*    Selected a vendor to provide the new case management system that will provide for increased system reliability and allow the court to implement new procedures to enhance customer service and staff effectiveness.

*    Allocated intake calendar slots for the acceptance of defendants with contested parking citations thereby reducing waiting time for defendants who are motivated to resolve outstanding parking fines.

*    Assisted in the development of a Youth Development Boot Camp for high-risk, repeat young offenders with cases before the Court.  This program is intended to reinforce acceptable behavior and reduce recidivism.

*    Instituted the preparation of the "Top 100 Egregious Defendants" listing provided to the Milwaukee Police Department for follow-up by the warrant squad as a means of enforcing the Court's judgments.

*    Streamlined processes related to the filing of Department of Neighborhood Services summons & complaints thereby reducing staff time allocated to this task and providing for timelier scheduling of court dates.

*    Judges and court staff continued their active participation and contributions to professional and community organizations to the benefit of the Court through their service as officers, instructors, authors, etc.

*    Provided the opportunity for court commissioners to secure the training and experience that can qualify them for other judicial office.

*    Encouraged and supported changes to the subpoena process to provide for personal service of subpoenas resulting in higher appearance rates for witnesses and a reduction in the number of trials that are rescheduled due to witnesses who do not appear.
 
 
 

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

Assumptions: 
  1. New case filings will not exceed 190,000 in 2004.
  2. City Attorney will continue to staff all pre-trial proceedings.

Objective 1 - Fair and reliable adjudication of cases.  Court processes cases according to announced time standards, complies with schedules, pays individual attention to cases, makes clear decisions, and maintains institutional integrity.

Strategies:  Continued use of established sentencing criteria and procedures that are consistently applied and clearly communicated to defendants and others.

Maintain the management and technology infrastructure that allows the court operation to function smoothly.

Provide clear information to defendants about court decisions, judgments and orders.

Initiatives:  Complete the implementation of the new automated case management system to ensure timely and accurate processing of case and defendant information.

Conduct a systematic review of court notices and communications to ensure that the information presented is correct, clear, and understandable.

Continue to identify and implement process improvements that will allow the court to continue to respond to increased case filings and activity with current staff.

Continue regular communication with court commissioners and reserve/substitute judges regarding court policies and procedures.

Continue periodic review of general sentencing criteria and procedures to ensure appropriateness to defendant population, prosecutorial and law enforcement conditions, and criminal justice facility situation.

Initiate discussions with Milwaukee County municipal courts regarding their interest in participating in the Court’s automated case management system.

Conduct a systematic review of court policies and procedures and update them as required.

Identify methods to ensure an adequate level of funding to support the court's services to defendants who are indigent or who have AODA or mental health issues.

Support the development of the Southside Community Justice Center and similar community initiatives.

Measures

No interruption of computer systems and adequate online system time available for court proceeding and case processing through an updated and expanded case management system.
 

Meet established time standards for case processing.

»    Schedule citations for intake no later than 45 days from date of offense.

»     Implement standards for intake-to-trial time lapse, with particular attention to juvenile, building and zoning, drunken driving and blood alcohol content cases.

»    Implement 60-day scheduling goal for pre-trials.

»    Written decisions and orders are to be completed no later than 60 days after the trial date, the last scheduled court appearance date, or the last personal appearance date, whichever is later.

»    Comply with statutorily defined time standards, such as reporting disposition of traffic violations to the state Department of Transportation (DOT), and the filing of transfers and appeals to the Circuit Court.

»    Implement a standard for maximum defendant waiting time in court.
 

Objective 2 - Court accessibility to the public.  Ensure that court is accessible in terms of location, hours, physical setup, openness of proceedings, predictability and clarity of its procedures and that individuals appearing before the court are accorded with respect.
 

Strategies:  Identify process and technological improvements that will improve access to case information, reduce waiting time and congestion at the court facility, and improve the payment processes.

Enhance the quality of customer service provided to citizens with business at the Municipal Court.

Continue to provide on-going and regular customer service training to court staff.

Initiatives:  Improve the appearance and functionality of the Court’s web site to provide for increased access to case information, the ability to make payments and file not guilty pleas on-line, and investigate the merits of on-line scheduling of cases.

Conduct a systematic review of the automated voice response system and implement improvements that will reduce defendant waiting time and to allow for better access to case information.

Continue to review and adjust court hours, schedules and locations to respond to public needs in a cost-effective manner.

Provide the public with information regarding court proceedings by cable casting court proceedings on a periodic basis or by production of a video regarding court operations and programs.

Optimize the use of court commissioners and reserve/substitute judges to absorb increases and declines in case volume and provide for more flexible service to the public.

Establish and implement a proactive media relations and public education plan to ensure that the public gets an accurate picture of the court's accomplishments and the challenges it faces.

Identify ways to streamline attorney access to the court through telephonic pre-trials and filings, dissemination of notices via fax and/or e-mail, direct access to data in MCMIS, etc.

Initiate a program of regular briefings on Court operations and information systems for aldermanic aides.

Implement a system for the use of self-service kiosks to allow defendants to view and print case information and to check in for scheduled court sessions.

Expand evening court hours to include trial calendars.

Fully implement automated payment options using Integrated Voice Response (IVR) and E-payment systems.

Support the development of the Southside Community Justice Center and similar community initiatives.

Continue active participation and contributions to professional and community organizations to the benefit of the Court by Judges and court staff through service as officers, instructors, authors, etc.

Measures

Maintain the court's website and its case information system on the internet to provide virtual 24-hour per day access to court information for the public, community agencies, the media, businesses and law enforcement agencies within and outside the City of Milwaukee.

Website case information is current within 24 hours.

Establish a baseline measure of the use of automated payment options.

Reduce use of the voice response system and achieve a corresponding increase in web site use. 100,000 visitors to the web site in the year 2004.
 

Objective 3 - Effective enforcement of court judgments. Court takes responsibility for the enforcement of its own judgments.

Strategies:  Maintain policies and procedures and business processes that foster and encourage compliance with court judgments.

Maintain effective enforcement strategies in concert with prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and community organizations.

Initiatives:  Conduct a systematic review of court notices and communications to ensure that the information presented is correct, clear, and understandable.

Optimize the use of court commissioners and reserve/substitute judges to absorb increases and declines in case volume and provide for more flexible service to the public.

Conduct a systematic review of court policies and procedures and update them as required.

Continue to provide the opportunity for court commissioners to secure the training and experience that can qualify them for other judicial office.

Measures

Track defendant compliance with judgments at key stages in the judgment enforcement process.

Compliance rate for installment payment terms and schedules.
 

Objective 4 - Accountability for public resources.  Court uses approved funds for purposes within its mission and authority, spends within allocated funds, and has a system for accounting for funds collected and spent. Court informs the public about what it does, its programs, and the issues it faces.

Strategies:  Maintain the record of spending within (or less than) the established budget and for collecting funds according to established court and city procedures.

Maximize the use of technology to reduce transaction time and costs, increase the effectiveness of the collection function, and to enhance convenience to the public.

Continue community court and other outreach activities.

Identify sources of income and revenue that will support court operations and goals.

Initiatives:  Complete the implementation of the new automated case management system to ensure timely and accurate processing of case and defendant information.

Improve the appearance and functionality of the Court’s web site to provide for increased access to case information, the ability to make payments and file not guilty pleas on-line, and investigate the merits of on-line scheduling of cases.

Increase use of electronic data transfers between the court and collection agency and between the court and other agencies.

Pursue grant funding of special initiatives and programs.

Target community outreach activities to maximize use of judges’ and staff time.  Identify additional community groups, including MPS Community Learning Centers, that can provide effective participation in community court sessions.

Identify ways to streamline attorney access to the court through telephonic pre-trials and filings, dissemination of notices via fax and/or e-mail, direct access to data in MCMIS, etc.

Initiate a program of regular briefings on Court operations and information systems for aldermanic aides.

Initiate discussions with Milwaukee County municipal courts regarding their interest in participating in the Court’s automated case management system.

Conduct a quarterly review of progress in meeting the Court’s strategic objectives.

Implement a system for the use of self-service kiosks to allow defendants to view and print case information and to check in for scheduled court sessions.

Conduct a review of staffing patterns and needs based upon the implementation of the new case management system.

Conduct a systematic review of court personnel policies and procedures and update them as required.

Identify methods to ensure an adequate level of funding to support the court's services to defendants who are indigent or who have AODA or mental health issues.

Review the deposit schedule to identify opportunities for increases in fines to support court programs.

Fully implement automated payment options using Integrated Voice Response (IVR) and E-payment systems.

Continue active participation and contributions to professional and community organizations to the benefit of the Court by Judges and court staff through service as officers, instructors, authors, etc.

Measures

Court resources are expended for required and priority functions in a cost effective manner and in consonance with the court's mission and strategic objectives.

Establish and implement controls to ensure that 100% of funds collected and spent are properly accounted for.

Monitor collections and payments from customer deposit accounts daily for accuracy and timeliness, and promptly make necessary corrections or adjustments.

100% of expenditures made within limits of authorized funds.

100% of accounting for case-related receipts and expenditures, and for court administration is accomplished through a reliable management information system.

Produce regular and ad hoc financial transactions and cash flow analysis for use by judges and management in the decision-making process.
 

Objective 5 - Enhanced public safety.  Court uses its sentencing powers to set into motion conditions that would make defendants more likely to change their legally unacceptable behavior.

Strategies:  Continue community outreach activities to inform community groups of court procedures and goals and to clearly outline the community benefits of reductions in legally unacceptable behavior.

Continue the use of a wide range of community service and driver safety classes as a sentencing option for juveniles and other defendant groups, as appropriate.

Monitor the effectiveness of sentencing strategies.
 

Initiatives:  Target community outreach activities to maximize use of judges’ and staff time.  Identify additional community groups, including MPS Community Learning Centers, which can provide effective participation in community court sessions.

Support the development of the Southside Community Justice Center and similar community initiatives.

Measures

Proportion of juveniles offered the community service option who complete their service as promised.

Percentage of persons referred to driver safety classes who complete the course.
 

Summary - Initiatives

Complete the implementation of the new automated case management system to ensure timely and accurate processing of case and defendant information. (Objective 1 & 4)

Conduct a systematic review of court notices and communications to ensure that the information presented is correct, clear, and understandable. (Objective 1 & 3)

Continue to identify and implement process improvements that will allow the court to continue to respond to increased case filings and activity with current staff.  (Objective 1)

Continue regular communication with court commissioners and reserve/substitute judges regarding court policies and procedures. (Objective 1)

Continue periodic review of general sentencing criteria and procedures to ensure appropriateness to defendant population, prosecutorial and law enforcement conditions, and criminal justice facility situation. (Objective 1)

Improve the appearance and functionality of the Court’s web site to provide for increased access to case information, the ability to make payments and file not guilty pleas on-line, and investigate the merits of on-line scheduling of cases.  (Objective 2 & 4)

Conduct a systematic review of the automated voice response system and implement improvements that will reduce defendant waiting time and to allow for better access to case information.  (Objective 2)

Continue to review and adjust court hours, schedules and locations to respond to public needs in a cost-effective manner. (Objective 2)

Provide the public with information regarding court proceedings by cable casting court proceedings on a periodic basis or by production of a video regarding court operations and programs. (Objective 2)

Optimize the use of court commissioners and reserve/substitute judges to absorb increases and declines in case volume and provide for more flexible service to the public.  (Objective 2 & 3)

Increase use of electronic data transfers between the court and collection agency and between the court and other agencies.  (Objective 4)

Pursue grant funding of special initiatives and programs. (Objective 4)

Target community outreach activities to maximize use of judges’ and staff time.  Identify additional community groups, including MPS Community Learning Centers, that can provide effective participation in community court sessions.  (Objective 4 & 5)

Establish and implement a proactive media relations and public education plan to ensure that the public gets an accurate picture of the court's accomplishments and the challenges it faces.

Identify ways to streamline attorney access to the court through telephonic pre-trials and filings, dissemination of notices via fax and/or e-mail, direct access to data in MCMIS, etc. (Objective 1, 2 & 4)

Initiate a program of regular briefings on Court operations and information systems for aldermanic aides. (Objective 2 & 4)

Initiate discussions with Milwaukee County municipal courts regarding their interest in participating in the Court’s automated case management system. (Objective 1 & 4)

Conduct a quarterly review of progress in meeting the Court’s strategic objectives. (Objective 4)

Implement a system for the use of self-service kiosks to allow defendants to view and print case information and to check in for scheduled court sessions. (Objective 2 & 4)

Conduct a review of staffing patterns and needs based upon the implementation of the new case management system. (Objective 4)

Conduct a systematic review of court policies and procedures and update them as required.  (Objective 1 & 3)

Conduct a systematic review of court personnel policies and procedures and update them as required. (Objective 4)

Identify methods to ensure an adequate level of funding to support the court's services to defendants who are indigent or who have AODA or mental health issues. (Objective 1 & 4)

Review the deposit schedule to identify opportunities for increases in fines to support court programs. (Objective 4)

Expand evening court hours to include trial calendars. (Objective 2)

Fully implement automated payment options using Integrated Voice Response (IVR) and E-payment systems.  (Objective 2 &4)

Support the development of the Southside Community Justice Center and similar community initiatives.  (Objective 1, 2 & 5)

Continue active participation and contributions to professional and community organizations to the benefit of the Court by Judges and court staff through service as officers, instructors, authors, etc.  (Objective 2 &4)

Continue to provide the opportunity for court commissioners to secure the training and experience that can qualify them for other judicial office.  (Objective 3)