The Lee’s Summit Municipal Court ranks high in accessibility and fairness according to an internal administrative report that measures the performance of the City’s judicial system. CourTools Report: The Tools to Measuring Success 2008 presents detailed operational data gathered throughout the year on the Lee’s Summit Municipal Court. The internal report includes eight out of ten CourTools measures developed by the National Center for State Courts.
The measures in this report are a model for outstanding performance by the judicial branch. This will be an ongoing assessment to continue measuring the court’s progress in order to provide an annual accounting to the citizens of Lee’s Summit.
The following highlights from the CourTools report show a high level of success and provide valuable insights for continuing improvement:
Measure #1: Access and Fairness – The Court met its “access measure” goals by receiving an average rating of agree/strongly agree in all survey areas with the exception of the court’s web site. The court collected surveys from 94 individuals exiting the court on February 4, 5, 11 and 12, 2009. Partly based on results of the survey, the court’s web site has been updated, including adding a detailed court docket schedule, fine and fees schedule, a link to the city’s Code of Ordinances, downloadable forms and an on-line attorney entry process. The court will continue to enhance the website to improve access.
In the area of fairness, all goals were met including “same treatment of everyone” and “the judge had information to make good decisions about cases.”
Measure #2: Clearance Rates – The court’s ability to keep up with its incoming caseload ranked well overall with the timely disposition of cases. Alcohol/Drug Traffic and Non-Traffic clearance rates were slightly below the Court’s own target goal in 2008, but well above the 2008 Missouri State Municipal Division average clearance rates.
Measure #3: Time to Disposition – The Court came very close to its goal of processing 75% of cases to completion within 90 days of filing. Such measurements are essential to continued progress.
Measure #5: Trial Date Certainty – Although municipal courts in Missouri do not hold jury trials, 187 contested bench trials were heard in Lee’s Summit Municipal Court in 2008. Of those cases, 81% were actually tried on the first trial date set by the court.
Measure #6: Reliability and Integrity of Case Files – The court was able to retrieve requested files 100% of the time within 0-15 minutes, exceeding their goal of 90%. The court has taken steps to address the few inconsistencies found in computer records of case files as compared to file contents in case jackets.
Measure #9: Court Employee Satisfaction – Employees are the key to ensuring the court runs efficiently and effectively. The opinions of employees are valued and utilized to help improve the system. The court will continue to survey employees and make necessary improvements. More effective communication is among the important areas being addressed.
Measure #10: Cost per Case - This measure refers to the cost of processing a single case, by case type. In 2008, the cost per case was $46.61 per case disposed and $49.15 per case filed. The court will use data from similar-sized courts throughout the United States to better assess administrative costs as well as to reduce costs per case by resolving courts cases in a timely manner.
To read the report in detail, go to www.cityofls.net and click on Publications and Reports under the “Main site” and select the report under "Audits, Performance" or click on Municipal Court Performance Report. CourTool 4 (Age of Active Pending Caseload) was not completed due to technical computer code issues, and CourTool 8 (Effective Use of Jurors) does not apply to Municipal Courts in Missouri. Both the CourTools Report and the 2009 Operational Review report of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Court are available at this site. More information on CourTools is available at: http://www.ncsconline.org/D_Research/CourTools/tcmp_courttools.htm
Contact Lee’s Summit Municipal Court Administrator Pamela S. DeVault at (816) 969-1160 for more information.