Chief Judge: Hennepin County Has Backlog of 3,000 Court Cases
The chief judge of Hennepin County District Court says a court backlog continues to be a challenge. According to Judge Todd Barnette, there’s a backlog of 3,000 cases in Hennepin County.
“That doesn’t include cases that are already here. Those are the numbers that we have to clear by July of 2023,” said Barnette during a presentation Monday night before the Maple Grove City Council.
A directive from Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lori Gildea prioritizes felony and gross misdemeanor cases. But the backlog includes those case levels.
The Fourth Judicial District, which includes only Hennepin County, has five court divisions: civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate/mental health. About 88 percent of all court filings come from the criminal division.
Judge Barnette said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how the court handles proceedings. Of all the court hearings this year, 89 percent have been held remotely. Barnette noted that virtual hearings has led to a reduction in bench warrants and an increase in people able to attend court.