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Rural Misdemeanor Court Management - A Study in One Court's Exercise of Greater Case Control

NCJ Number
Justice System Journal Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: special issue (Spring 1981) Pages: 73-83
Date Published
11 pages
Findings and implications are presented from a case study of a rural Minnesota misdemeanor court that implemented new case flow mangement techniques.
The Blue Earth County Court, the misdemeanor court for Mankato and its surrounding community, adopted a new case flow management system that involved the use of a chronologically filed case control card index. The index card identifies the case (defendant name, case number, defendant age, type of charge) and provides information on all next-action dates for each case, type of disposition, sentence imposed, and age of the case at disposition. The card was designed to be retrieved from the pending file according to the age of the case on the date in question, thus permitting the clerk's office to monitor the case as it proceeds through the system. Important changes resulting from the introduction of the new system were (1) changes in the administrative roles of the various court actors involved in case adjudication, (2) altering of scheduling procedures so that cases could be reset more promptly and attorneys given less latitude in date selection, and (3) the court coordinator's exercise of greater control in case assignments. Some of the most salient features of the change process were in the manner in which different system participants related with one another. The specific changes in their traditional roles and relationships could not have been anticipated, since so much of these interactions depend on the exigencies of the local sociolegal environment. Other changes, such as those which affected the court's scheduling practices, were clearly anticipated and were necessary in order to implement the management information system. Tabular data, three footnotes, and seven references are provided.

Date Published: January 1, 1981