The Farmers Branch Municipal Court (Texas) has had online case resolution in place since January 2018. As of May, 2020, they have handled over 5,000 cases online!
Hear from City Prosecutor Nicole Corr how it has changed her work at the court.
Hear Nicole’s Perspective (Video Excerpt)
Read Her Words (Transcript)
Before we would have a pro se docket. A pro se is someone who represents themselves. They have already entered a ‘Not Guilty’ plea with the judge and so then they come to see me which is our pre-trial docket, essentially. We hold it the first Tuesday of every month.
And when I first started in Farmers Branch about a year ago, I mean I was seeing, you’re talking 70 to 90 people sitting in this courtroom and every single one I’d have to call up and talk to, explain their options and it was basically the same speech over and over and over again.
Now, with Matterhorn, because it streamlines all that, like I was saying, I can field these on a daily basis, either from my home, from my law office, and it clears it out. So now on those first Tuesdays of every month, I’m only seeing maybe 20 to 30 people. And what was taking me, you know, three hours at a minimum, we’re now down to about an hour. So I’ve seen a vast improvement in those numbers.
And like I said, when I do the Matterhorn online pleas, I’m still assessing all the same information, they’ve already been explained what their options are, and I also think that they may be even heard a little bit more on Matterhorn because we have that box where they can complain and I read every single one of those. And I take those into consideration where when you’re in the cattle call, you know, I like to be able to hear people’s side of things but again, I’m limited, I’ve got 90 people sitting in the courtroom.
So I think that this overall has been just really great.Nicole Corr Texas ODR Webinar Video: ODR to Contest and Resolve Misdemeanors
Do you have anything you want to say about safety or perception of safety with this?
Just quickly. So you know, it’s our day and age, but we’ve had a couple people who come into court who we just don’t feel safe around. And we don’t actually … our court does not have a metal detector. So the only thing we have is we have an armed bailiff in the courtroom and there’s been a handful of times where I’ve had the bailiff had to come and stand next to me because we’ve had somebody who is about to lunge across the table at me over his speeding ticket. But with Matterhorn, it kind of keeps the crazies on the other side of a computer, which is helpful.Nicole Corr Texas ODR Webinar Video: ODR to Contest and Resolve Misdemeanors
Congratulations to the Farmers Branch Municipal Court for providing access to the public online in 2018. You have increased public access to your court and helped the work of your court be more efficient and safe.