Courts are reinventing for the 21st Century

Judge Dawn A. Klida

Judge Dawn Klida Michigan 74th District Court

There’s never been a better, and more pressing, time for courts to enter the digital age. Online platforms aimed at connecting the courts, police, prosecutors, and citizens are designed to help courts reduce the overwhelming backlog of cases that has become the norm throughout the country. This inefficiency doesn’t do justice to our court system, our communities, or our citizens.

It’s hard to imagine, in the context of today’s court model, a citizen being satisfied with their judicial experience. And it’s easy to understand why, when judges and prosecutors share that frustration, born of too many cases and too little time.

Online platforms can enable the courts to act as the central role in connecting people and prosecutors to the justice system, optimizing the process and taking care of cases that don’t need to be heard in court.

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WILX – Lansing Court Launches Online Ticket Review

Lansing’s 54-A District Court is launching a new online service that provides an opportunity for drivers to resolve certain traffic tickets without having to come to court.

The Court has contracted with Court Innovations Matterhorn to offer an online platform through which a motorist can request to have his or her ticket reviewed.

The program walks the individual through a series of questions to determine whether they are eligible to resolve the violation online. If eligible, the individual can submit the request for review by the Lansing Police Department. Once approved there, the request is forwarded to a judge or magistrate for final determination. Defendants can follow the process of their case, and will be notified of the judge’s decision by text or email

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WOOD TV 8 – Program to issue fewer bench warrants in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 61st District Court in Grand Rapids is starting a pilot program on Monday aimed at decreasing the number of bench warrants issued for and arrests of people who don’t show up to hearings.

Court Administrator Gary Secor explained the program to 24 Hour News 8. He said the court issues about 5,500 bench warrants each year for defendants who fail to appear.

The 61st District Court handles mostly misdemeanor cases. Secor said in many instances, there could be a valid reason for the no-show.

“Maybe you couldn’t arrange for child care that day. Maybe you didn’t have transportation. Maybe you lost your hearing notice date and you couldn’t find it,” Secor said.

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SE Michigan Startup – Seeing is believing spurs growth for Court Innovations

Few things are as effective at closing a deal as getting the customer to interact with the product. Seeing is believing is not just a cliche, but the way Court Innovations grows its business.

“As soon as they see it operating they see the value in it,” says MJ Cartwright, CEO of Court Innovations. “They really get it and want to start using it.”

The downtown Ann Arbor-based startup has a software platform that most people would love to see in their local judicial system. Litigants using Court Innovations’ software can navigate their local court system online for things like civil infractions. Think less standing in line in a court house and more clicking on a mouse pad at home.

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SPARK – Court Innovations expanding access to the court system, one click at a time

Court Innovations, the first company to spin out of University of Michigan Law School, is expanding access to the court system, one click at a time. Its online platform, MatterhornTM, frees citizens to resolve outstanding issues without going to court. Matterhorn is currently in use at several Michigan courts, and Court Innovations has grown to 10 employees and interns in the last year.

There’s no denying the need for an innovative approach to handling the backlog of cases that judges and the courts currently experience, and that offering a new way for citizens to interact with the court can improve the judicial process. This truly transformative opportunity is what inspired JJ Prescott, a law professor at University of Michigan and his former student Ben Gubernick, to found Court Innovations and push the technology to market.
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Michigan Supreme Court – Online ticket review helps make courts more accessible and efficient

LANSING, MI, June 8, 2015 – A pilot online program is making resolution of minor disputes and violations faster and easier for citizens, courts, and law enforcement. Online ticket review was launched this week in East Lansing’s 54B District Court and is already running in Pittsfield Township, City of Ypsilanti, City of Saline, Northfield Township, Highland Park, and Bay County.

By following an easy online procedure, the public can resolve certain tickets, outstanding fines, and missed court dates without missing work. “Online ticket review helps to make the justice system more accessible and convenient for the public,” said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young. Jr. “The system also saves time for judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement, making our justice system more efficient.”

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State News – Local traffic violations resolvable online starting in June

Resulting from possible frustrations with trying to resolve a traffic ticket, 54B District Court will be offering a new online service beginning on June 1.

The court signed on with Matterhorn by Court Innovations, “an online platform that allows defendants, police and judges to conveniently work toward resolving minor traffic violations,” according to a court statement.

Matterhorn will direct users through an online series of qualifying questions to see if a traffic violation can be resolved online. If it can, a user can submit their petition online and it will be looked over by the East Lansing Police Department.

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Legal News – Matterhorn online platform for violations, warrants reduces backlog at 74th District Court

Faced with a backlog, the 74th District Court in Bay City, Bay County, Michigan began looking for a way to improve access to justice and court efficiency. Traffic, failure to appear, and failure to pay fines are cases that don’t necessarily need to be heard in court, yet are the most common cases that judges hear.

In late 2014, the court began offering Matterhorn as an alternative to resolving these minor violations, which cost the courts and defendants unnecessary time and money. Matterhorn’s online platform enables defendants, police, prosecutors and judges to conveniently work together towards resolving a traffic ticket or warrant.

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Legal News – 30th District Court offering online resolution of violations

Taking time from work, school or other obligations to spend hours in a packed courtroom to deal with a traffic ticket can be frustrating. Highland Park residents can handle those tickets from the comfort of their own home, at their convenience with Court Innovations’ Matterhorn. Matterhorn is an online platform that enables defendants, police, prosecutors and judges to conveniently work towards resolving minor violations.

“The 30th District Court was determined to make real progress in creating more efficiency and fairness within the system. The incredible volume of cases that go through the 30th District Court led to this need to find an alternative to the status quo,” said Judge Brigette Officer-Hill.

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Detroit Free Press – Traffic court goes digital: Start-up fosters settlements

Traffic court is going digital.

Ann Arbor-based start-up Court Innovations has developed a software solution that allows drivers to settle traffic violations by negotiating in a virtual environment instead of showing up to court to fight tickets.

The model, which can also extend to other minor civil infractions, is appealing to courts because it reduces workload and increases fine collection rates. And it’s appealing to offenders who don’t have time to show up in court or simply can’t afford to take off of work.

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