Performance of the City and Parish Courts

Fiscal Year 2014 - 2015

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INTRODUCTION


The Louisiana City Court Judges Association adopted the Strategic Plan of the City and Parish Courts in 2002. The Supreme Court of Louisiana approved the plan the same year. The plan was revised and updated in 2007 and again in 2012. The goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan of the City and Parish Courts are based on the Trial Court Performance Standards as modified by the Louisiana Commission on Strategic Planning for Limited Jurisdiction Courts. The information comprising the “Intent of the Objective” sections of this report was taken primarily from the Bureau of Justice Assistance publication entitled “Trial Court Performance Standards with Commentary.” The information presented in the “Response to the Objective” and “Major Strategies Initiated or Completed” sections of this part of the report was compiled from responses of each city and parish court to a survey of chief judges, which was prepared by the Supreme Court Judicial Administrator’s Office and distributed to the city and parish courts.


SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS BY THE COURTS DURING THE PERIOD


GOALS AND OBJECTIVES



GOAL 2: TO MEET ALL RESPONSIBILITIES TO EVERYONE AFFECTED BY THE COURT AND ITS ACTIVITIES IN A TIMELY AND EXPEDITIOUS MANNER.

2.1 To encourage timely case management and processing.

2.2 To provide required reports and to respond to requests for information promptly.

2.3 To promptly implement changes in law and procedure.


GOAL 3: TO PROVIDE DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW TO ALL WHO HAVE BUSINESS BEFORE THE COURT; AND TO DEMONSTRATE INTEGRITY IN ALL PROCEDURES AND DECISIONS.

3.1 To encourage city courts that exercise juvenile jurisdiction to make strategic decisions that support the best outcomes for children and families.

3.2 To faithfully adhere to laws, procedural rules, and established policies.

3.3 To give individual attention to cases, deciding them without undue disparity among like cases and upon legally relevant factors.

3.4 To ensure that the decisions of the court address clearly the issues presented to it and, where appropriate, to specify how compliance can be achieved.

3.5 To ensure that appropriate responsibility is taken for the enforcement of court orders.

3.6 To ensure that all court records of relevant court decisions and actions are accurate and preserved properly.



SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS BY THE COURTS

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ASCENSION PARISH COURT

Ascension Parish Court reported that all cases, both civil and criminal, were handled expeditiously. The court takes cases under advisement only in very rare instances.

BAKER CITY COURT

Baker City Court installed a new case management system. It also implemented a bail bonding policy - anyone who did not have an outstanding bench warrant could be released on his or her own recognizance after the initial arrest.

BASTROP CITY COURT

Bastrop City Court worked with the public school system by inviting students to observe civil and criminal proceedings.

BATON ROUGE CITY COURT

Baton Rouge City Court completed the opening of its Public Tag Agency, providing Office of Motor Vehicle Services to the public. Services were enhanced to include handling driver's license reinstatements that were the result of suspensions from failure to appears on court matters. This services allows the public to handle their court business and OMV requirements in one location that aids in resolving issues on their court matters and driver's licenses in a more timely and efficient manner.

The Domestic Violence Specialty Court (DVSC), which began in January 2015, maintained a docket of offenders, sentenced to domestic violence court, that underwent counseling and a special MRT training program designed to change cognitive behavior in domestic violence offenders. Recently, the DVSC had several offenders successfully complete the 26-week course.

The court undertook major management training for all administrators, supervisors, and court managers. The two-part, multi-faceted program involved several months of strategic on-going training. The training was provided by an outside trainer and an in-house deputy court administrator, who was recently certified in a special training program. The strategic training was designed to improve management behavior, management alignment along all chains of command, employee/management relations, and employee morale in general, with the ultimate goal of improving court operations and fulfillment of the court's mission.

BOGALUSA CITY COURT

The court continued effective strategies that have been implemented for some time.

BOSSIER CITY COURT

Bossier City Court created a website which contains court information such as contact numbers, the holiday schedule, and hours of operation. Website users have the ability to see civil dockets and minutes, inquire for service, inquire as to the costs on a suit, and search for a suit. They can also make a criminal inquiry, check court dockets, review minutes (printable at no charge to party), access civil forms, review the traffic fine schedule, and pay tickets online.

BREAUX BRIDGE CITY COURT

Breaux Bridge City Court took steps to improve the security measures for the court, its personnel, and the general public. Plans are in place to install metal detector equipment during the upcoming fiscal year.

BUNKIE CITY COURT

Bunkie City Court reported that it made advances in technology.

CROWLEY CITY COURT

During the period the court employed a new Clerk of Court, who made vast improvements in updating the court's civil and criminal processes. All deputy clerks have now been trained in all aspects of the office and have become proficient in same. The court established a protocol for all employees and is now working much more efficiently. Employee morale greatly improved since this change!

DENHAM SPRINGS CITY COURT

Denham Springs City Court added an additional file room that is locked when the court is closed, to protect juvenile records. The court also purchased and installed an updated walk-through metal detector and paid for training for the court security deputy marshals. The court also had a mirroring disk installed in the mainframe computer to preserve and maintain court records.

EUNICE CITY COURT

Eunice City Court worked to establish a presence in every school, along with law enforcement personnel, so that the court may build or reestablish the relationship with local children.

The court also used church attendance as an option for community service and had wonderful results, in many instances. It was extremely rewarding to see lives changed in a positive manner.

FRANKLIN CITY COURT

After numerous meetings and discussions with city and parish counsel and officials, Franklin City Court negotiated an intergovernmental agreement that spelled out the city and parish obligations for the costs and expenses of the court.

HAMMOND CITY COURT

Hammond City Court employed a Programs Manager, who guided implementation of the records management and archiving programs. The court obtained additional space to house the entire operation in one facility, which improved efficiency and customer service.

HOUMA CITY COURT

The court implemented a new case management system for the civil department and will soon be doing so for the criminal/traffic and juvenile departments.

JEANERETTE CITY COURT

The court installed and trained court staff on a new case management system.

JEFFERSON PARISH 1ST PARISH COURT

Through the Parish Court Information Management System, Jefferson Parish 1st Parish Court teamed up with the Supreme Court to enhance reporting for sentenced cases and sanity hearings. This new system reduced reporting from a monthly basis to a daily basis and added a number of new data elements to the table. The new system will provide the Supreme Court with timely information to provide national criminal information databases. The information can be used to follow a case from original arrest ( inception) through sentencing to a final disposition ( final outcome).

In addition, the judges brought on a new staff member, a Licensed Master Social Worker whose expertise and leadership will enable her to implement effective rehabilitation programs for offenders. The court has already established intensive therapy for offenders and mandatory drug screening.

The impaired driving program continued to be successful. The program continued to evaluate defendants, identify their needs, monitor their programs, and offer feedback.

JEFFERSON PARISH 2ND PARISH COURT

Through a cooperative endeavor agreement with Jefferson Parish, Second Parish Court was, at no cost to the court, able to have its administrative staff, supervisors, and select personnel attend the Jefferson Parish Human Resource Department training classes. The classes, with topics ranging from human resource matters to safety training, were a source of valuable information for Second Parish Court’s administration and supervisors. The administrators and supervisors have shared relevant information with the rest of the court’s staff, resulting in a benefit for everyone employed at Second Parish Court. With the wide variety of classes offered on a monthly basis, Second Parish Court’s staff looks forward to continuing to capitalize on this available wealth of knowledge.

JENNINGS CITY COURT

During the period, the court completed the transition into a new court facility. The court is quite proud of the new facility, which provides much more access for the public, more security, a better work place for staff, and appropriate room and equipment for properly handling files.

KAPLAN CITY COURT

The Kaplan City Court judge orders each juvenile to turn in a handwritten summary of a chapter of a novel during each month the juvenile is on probation.

LAFAYETTE CITY COURT

The court's major strategy was the continued implementation of the court website. It will be coordinated with our case management software, will be secure, and will allow interaction with members of the bar, the public, and other government agencies as appropriate. It will also facilitate the online payment of fines.

LAKE CHARLES CITY COURT

Lake Charles City Court actively pursued, through a Supreme Court Case Management Information Systems grant, the ability to import data directly from the Lake Charles Police Department Crimes system.

LEESVILLE CITY COURT

The Court installed a video conferencing system and is working to improve security.

MARKSVILLE CITY COURT

Marksville City Court implemented a "Children At Risk" juvenile probation awareness program, for the benefit of first offender juveniles with violations relating to traffic and petty offenses.

MINDEN CITY COURT

After the election of a new judge and employment of all new court personnel, the court obtained bids for new software and equipment to replace the existing, outdated system. The court also pursued funding for new computers, servers, and software. The court will implement the new case management systems for criminal, civil, and juvenile cases in September of 2015.

MONROE CITY COURT

Monroe City Court was especially proud of its' commitment to provide better customer service, within the boundaries of the clerk of court's office, to self-represented litigants, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with limited English proficiency.

The court also enhanced security for court staff. Court staff actively participated in extensive safety and security training provided by the clerk of court's office. In addition, the court also purchased a new security system. The system allows staff to feel freer from the risk of possible harm.

MORGAN CITY COURT

Morgan City Court hired a new probation officer and updated the For The Record court reporting system. The court also developed the Morgan City Youth Center, through the Juvenile Services Department, to provide a safe and wholesome environment in which residents of St. Mary Parish, aged 11-17, may spend time after school.

NATCHITOCHES CITY COURT

Natchitoches City Court installed fiber optics, which allowed the court to store the server back up off-site.

NEW ORLEANS 1ST CITY COURT

The case management system has been implemented and is now being used by both Orleans Parish city courts.

NEW ORLEANS 2ND CITY COURT

The court reported that community outreach programs, including programs informing court users how to effectively represent themselves, are going well.

NEW ORLEANS MUNICIPAL COURT

Municipal Court was warded a grant, through the Louisiana Supreme Court, to enhance electronic reporting for the submission to the Court Case Management Information Systems (CMIS) data repository. Criminal dispositions will be sent to CMIS for posting to the Louisiana Criminal History and the FBI National Instant Check System. The court anticipates implementation of the enhancements in the second quarter of 2016.

NEW ORLEANS TRAFFIC COURT

New Orleans Traffic Court installed a "state of the art" case management system that will allow the court to function virtually paperless.

OAKDALE CITY COURT

The lack of security has been a major concern to the Ward V Marshal and the judge for many years. The marshal assisted the court in obtaining the best security system for the court and installing the security system at the court entrance.

OPELOUSAS CITY COURT

Opelousas City Court improved the court's networking ability with the purchase of a new server.

PLAQUEMINE CITY COURT

The City Court of Plaquemine sent every office employee to at least one outside training event.

PORT ALLEN CITY COURT

Port Allen City Court reported that it improved the courthouse facilities, including landscaping and the interior. It continued to have a completely up to date docket and was able to provide convenient court dates for parties in both civil and criminal cases.

RAYNE CITY COURT

The court upgraded, improved, and expanded its security system with audio, video, and on-site and remote monitoring.

RUSTON CITY COURT

The court updated criminal and civil software. The court also updated the probation office by obtaining radios that can access the state-wide law enforcement communications system. The radios facilitate communication and coordination with parish law enforcement and other emergency personnel.

SHREVEPORT CITY COURT

Shreveport City Court reported that it developed a list of professional interpreters.

SLIDELL CITY COURT

Security measures were increased significantly since the installation of the newly-elected Slidell City Marshal. The new marshal worked closely with the judge to implement new procedures to provide better security for our court and its employees.

All security procedures were reviewed and, in many instances, heightened. Specifically, by court order the secure administrative area has been restricted to allow for court employee or marshal access only. All other agencies previously granted access to this electronically secured area have been denied access without a marshal escort.

Security sweeps of the public areas were enhanced and now include, but are not limited to, thorough daily building checks using extended mirrors to locate any contraband, weapons, or unattended bags/purses. Additionally, multiple marshals are now present at the court entrance to help screen and process all visitors through the electronic surveillance system/metal detector.

Steel barrier posts were installed outside the front steps of the courthouse, to protect against any potential accidental or intentional vehicle collision. This court, and marshal's office, is dedicated to providing a secure environment for employees and visitors alike. Despite on-going funding issues in both offices, both intend to continue strategic practices as diligently as funding allows.

SPRINGHILL CITY COURT

Springhill City Court upgraded the civil and criminal software programs and upgraded the court reporting system to a digital system.

SULPHUR CITY COURT

Due to the age and condition of the present court building, the judge met with city and parish officials to develop another location for a building and to discuss funding acquisition/construction and maintenance costs. The court is now charging the maximum legislatively-authorized court cost amount, and traffic cases continue to decline. The court will continue to work with the legislative delegation and city and parish officials to provide the needed facilities.

THIBODAUX CITY COURT

Thibodaux City Court secured a grant from the Supreme Court to purchase new computers and software. The software and equipment will be installed in 2016.

VILLE PLATTE CITY COURT

Due to the design of the Ville Platte City Court building, security within the court room has been a concern. To resolve any security issues and to better prepare our staff to react to and mitigate any security threats, the court brought in a retired FBI agent and security consultant for advice. The results of this endeavor will be incrementally implemented in the future.

WEST MONROE CITY COURT

The court arranged an outside audit of courthouse security. The audit recommendations, if followed by those with the responsibility for courthouse security, will make the court safer.

WINNFIELD CITY COURT

Winnfield City Court implemented a new docketing system.

WINNSBORO CITY COURT

The court proudly continued to provide a low-cost, user-friendly court for the citizens for Ward 7.

ZACHARY CITY COURT

To ensure judicial independence, the court began to separate the city prosecutor’s files from the court files and to form a separate prosecutor’s office. This will allow the city prosecutor to review police records first and then forward them to the court for processing.


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