The Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts provides docketing, scheduling, and case management services for the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the Commitment Appeal Panels (CAP).
AnnMarie S. O’Neill, Clerk of the Appellate Courts, manages a team of six staff members who are responsible for maintaining accurate appellate records and for providing customer service to case participants and members of the public.
On July 1, 2016, appellate e-filing became mandatory in all case types for court reporters, attorneys, court-appointed examiners, agency records managers, and panels appointed by the appellate courts. Additionally, beginning in 2016, self-represented parties were permitted to e-file in all appellate case types. Appellate stakeholders have embraced the transition from voluntary to mandatory e-filing and frequently provide positive feedback regarding the efficiencies of the E-MACS (e-filing) system and the effectiveness of the robust training materials and videos available on the Judicial Branch website.
Since the launch of the E-MACS pilot project on October 1, 2014, the Clerk’s Ooffice has reviewed 5,639 user accounts.
During 2016, the average number of monthly e-filings was 1,320 per month, which represented approximately 60% of all appellate filings being submitted electronically. In 2017, the number increased to 2,460 e-filings per month, which translated to 93% of all appellate filings being submitted electronically. During 2018, appellate e-filing continued to account for 93% of all appellate filing submissions.
In July 2017, the Clerk’s Office transitioned appellate e-filing support to the eFiling and eService Support Center. This resource provides appellate stakeholders with access to specialized, technical support during court business hours. The partnership between the Court Services Division of State Court Administration and the Clerk’s Office has led to greater efficiencies and faster filing evaluations by allowing Clerk’s Office staff to focus on docketing incoming filings, while the eFS staff handle e-filing support questions.
In April 2016, the Judicial Branch responded to the increasing number of CAP petitions filed each year by adding a third, three-judge panel to conduct CAP hearings. CAP hearings are held when a civilly committed patient petitions for release from a state security hospital or requests a less restrictive placement. District court judges from the First, Second, and Tenth judicial districts serve as chief judges of these panels. The addition of the third panel has reduced the amount of time between when a patient’s petition is filed and the first available hearing date. Clerk’s Office personnel are responsible for docketing all CAP filings, conducting pre-hearing conferences, assigning three-judge panels, and scheduling the hearings.
Minnesota Judicial Branch Hires an Emergency Management Coordinator
Recognizing the need to better prepare Minnesota’s court system for local and statewide emergencies and possible courthouse closures, the Minnesota Judicial Branch hired its first statewide Emergency Management Coordinator, a position that reports to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts. Krysta Reuter, with 19 years of emergency management expertise working for a variety of public and private sector organizations across the country, joined the Branch in December 2018.
In her new position with the Judicial Branch, Reuter has taken a leadership role in ensuring the Judicial Branch is prepared for emergencies and able to restore core court services as quickly as possible after a disaster or catastrophic event.