Online court filing advances in more Minnesota counties

Electronic filing and serving of court documents is now available in many more district courts in southern Minnesota, as part of the state court system’s eFile/eService program.

State officials plan to have the paperless process available in all state courts by the end of the year. And by July 1, it will mandatory in all district court cases statewide for attorneys, government agencies, Guardians ad Litem and sheriffs. It will remain voluntary for those representing themselves in court cases.

The electronic system will be more efficient and eliminate trips to the courthouse, officials said.

The Austin Daily Herald says the change “will mostly affect civil/family cases and conciliation court cases. Most criminal cases will continue coming through law enforcement, which is a different type of filing system. Supplemental documents after initial criminal cases can also be electronically filed by the prosecutor or defense attorney.”

Mower County Court Administrator Krissy Bartness told the paper it’s a good thing for court users: “They will find it beneficial and an easier way to get access to their documents and get their filings into the court.”

She said: “You can be at home and not worry about having to get to the court house before it closes at 4:30 to file your papers.”

This change is part of the state’s overall eCourtMN initiative, which has a goal of using technology to improve court processes. Officials say the system is:

  • Providing judges and court staff with new electronic tools to more efficiently review and process court documents within the courthouse;
  • Creating an electronic portal for government partners – such as law enforcement, prosecutors, and public defenders – to more efficiently access court documents and records;
  • Making it easier and more convenient for the public to view electronic court records from across the state at their local courthouse;
  • Partnering with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to expand use of electronic citations (eCitations) and other charging documents (eCharging). These tools allow law enforcement and prosecutors to file citations and complaints electronically, from their office or squad car, with the data automatically transferred to court and law enforcement databases. Use of eCharging and eCitations will become mandatory for adult complaints and adult citations statewide on July 1, 2016.

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