14A District Court, Washtenaw County, Michigan

Case Study

A Win-Win-Win

It seems to be a win-win-win for all the participants.
Processes that used to take whole days now take only minutes.

—Bob Ciolek, 14A District
Court Administrator

The Court Sought to Simplify Scheduling and Expand Access

Prior to Matterhorn, the District 14A court invested time, energy, and labor to schedule and hold hearings for relatively minor offenses.

Then the court offered online traffic ticket and warrant resolution via Matterhorn. The four courthouses and six police agencies in the district found time and cost savings through expanding access to justice.

In 2013, the 14A District Court had a high volume of in-person mediations across its four courthouses. These mediations (equivalent to an “informal hearing” in similar district courts) were a significant burden on the court’s time and resources.

The Court Selected Online Dispute Resolution

The court recognized how online dispute resolution (ODR) increases transparency, consistency, and fairness. ODR also reduces any potential perception of bias based on physical appearance, race, class, or immigration status.

Additionally, the court was able to replicate yet simplify current processes online.

Benefits of Matterhorn ODR

Washtenaw County has reduced their in-person mediations and formal hearings with Matterhorn online ticket and warrant resolution.

Before

3,122 informal hearings in 2013

An estimated 1-2 months to schedule and attend a hearing

An average of 45-60 minutes for a traffic violation informal hearing

After

1,320 cases reviewed online

$218,690 collected

in person hearings reduced by ~100 hearings/month across 6 dockets

Online cases close more quickly and close with less staff handling time. Additionally, 14A has been able to speed up revenue collection as a result of closing cases sooner.

Prior to Matterhorn, people would often schedule a formal hearing if they were unsatisfied with the outcome of their informal hearing. One important and unexpected result for the court is that fewer people now request formal hearings. Most people accept the court’s online decision, even when it is not in their favor.

Online cases close more quickly and close with less staff handling time. Additionally, 14A has been able to speed up revenue collection as a result of closing cases sooner.

Prior to Matterhorn, people would often schedule a formal hearing if they were unsatisfied with the outcome of their informal hearing. One important and unexpected result for the court is that fewer people now request formal hearings. Most people accept the court’s online decision, even when it is not in their favor.

Police Agency Participation & Benefits

The six police agencies in Washtenaw County benefit too. Officers go to court less often.

I have the benefit of logging in whenever I want from anywhere.
I don’t have to have to schedule a specific date and time to attend mediations.

Shawn Booth, Pittsfield Police Officer

Increase Public Access and Customer Satisfaction

The public also appreciates their benefits. Over 90% said they found the website easy-to-use and said they understood the status of their case throughout the online process.

Thirty-nine percent of people who used the system said they would otherwise not have been able to come to court. Through offering online ticket and warrant resolution with Matterhorn, District 14A has expanded access to justice by 64%.

“It was very easy to use especially seeing I was going out of town.”

“It did save me from missing a half-day of work, so that was good!”

“I haven’t been to court before and I wouldn't have known what to do, where to go, what to say...so it really took a lot of stress from me to do this online.”

What is Matterhorn?

Matterhorn is online dispute resolution.

Matterhorn gives the public their “day in court” from their own device and from anywhere. This access allows people to stay at home, at school, and at work.
Judges, magistrates, and court staff remain involved, yet spend less on these activities. Matterhorn allows courts to offer 24/7 service without 24/7 staff. It allows the police to stay on patrol. It increases customer satisfaction.

Matterhorn integrates with many CMS and payment systems. It is software-as-a-service.

Get these proven outcomes into your community.

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