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Fourth Judicial District highlights Self-Help Center on Law Day

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013

The Fourth Judicial District Court will join the justice stakeholders across the country to celebrate Law Day on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.  This year’s theme, “Equality for All – Realizing the Dream” marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Each May, justice stakeholders across the country observe Law Day to commemorate the rule of law, the judiciary and its place in American society. 

DATE: Wednesday, May 1, 2013

TIME: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Hennepin County Government Center, skyway level

                 Brookdale Court, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center

EVENTS: Information booth with judges and court staff, trivia games, slideshow

Equality for All

The Self-Help Center (SHC), court staff and attorneys assist unrepresented people to complete paperwork to avoid case dismissal due to technical errors or a poorly filed pleading.  The SHC also hosts volunteer attorneys who offer clinics and legal advice for free.

This year’s law day theme highlights the importance of the SHC at all locations: 

The Hennepin County Government Center SHC served nearly 21,000 customers in 2012, an average of 84 customers a day of which 8% were assisted in Spanish, 3% in Somali, and about 1% spoke other languages.  In the first quarter of 2013, the Government Center SHC served 5,076 customers.  The state SHC call center is housed in the Government Center.

The Family Court SHC served nearly 17,000 customers in 2012.  From January – March 2013, 7,692 customers were assisted via phone, appointments, child support workshops, walk-ins and other correspondence.

Other ways that the court is working to provide equal access to justice:

  • The court provided 16,550 interpreting services to court users in 156 different languages in 2012.
  • The Hennepin County SHC provides assistance in English, Spanish, Somali and French. 
  • Women comprise 50% of the Hennepin bench. The national average is 27% for state and federal court judges.
  • Hennepin judges self-identify as 56% white, 18% other ethnicities, and 26% not specified.
  • Minority representation in jury pool averaged 17.3% in 2013.
  • Judges offered free weddings on Valentine’s Day 2013.

See the Self-Help Center and Law Day for more information