Staff at the 54A District Court in the City of Lansing, Michigan, share their experience with Matterhorn online dispute resolution for online traffic ticket and warrant resolution.
Anethia Brewer, Court Administrator 54A District Court
Once I heard about Matterhorn and what it was providing to other jurisdictions, I thought about what it could do for the City of Lansing.
54A District Court is just a little bit different than other district courts. We are housed in a city hall, we are downtown, right in front of our state’s capital. We do not have a ton of parking for people, and we’re not easily accessible.
One of the things that I wanted to do was to provide a platform where people could communicate with the court without having to come to court.
Laura Millmore, Magistrate 54A District Court
When this system first came about and I was approached about it, I was somewhat hesitant.
When I thought that this was going to happen, I thought, this is not going to be a good thing. Because people are going to get these plea agreements left and right. But if we have a driver that has some issues of safety and has a number of tickets or a number of points, and just historically has a sense of inappropriate driving, I was very concerned that an individual would be able to input their ticket and automatically get reviewed.
We have developed, through Matterhorn and through our administration, a policy and procedures that brings that safety element into the system. These are tickets that often times would generate a plea agreement to begin with. So we’re allowing that individual driver the ease of not coming to court, and it certainly reduces our congestion in the hallways. It reduces the amount of hearings that I will conduct during the day.
I’ve been proven wrong, It’s worked out really well, I feel very comfortable about the safety aspect of the program, and I’m very pleased with it in general.
The City of Lansing spent a lot of time working with the local law enforcement, so our local police agency, the City Attorney’s office, and the Magistrates Office, working a lot on the ordinance matters that are here in the City of Lansing. So we started to talk about ways that we could resolve keeping the officer on the road, reducing the amount of attorney time by the City Attorney’s office in court, and also reducing the number of cases that the Magistrate was having to hear in the course of a day.
And the Matterhorn platform has provided us the reduction of those hearing types so that we can focus on more serious matters.
Troy Cervantes, Deputy Clerk 54A District Court
Matterhorn has greatly improved our processes in dealing with civil infractions. Because of the fact that they can be resolved quicker, online, having people who go through the system having an enjoyable experience or as enjoyable as it can be. I think this process allows that. We’ve seen results from people who are grateful that we offer this, grateful that they’re talking to a live person, and grateful that things are resolved in a really timely manner.
Very easy to set up. We were basically able to do most of the setup online, over the telephone, and so that made it very easy and non-intrusive.
Thank you to the leadership and staff of the 54A District Court in Lansing, Michigan.