Criminal Court Survey

1) 2009. Adherence to sentencing orders may be improved if all orders from the Bench are concise, clear, complete, written and available to all parties at the time of the hearing and through MNCIS.
2) 2009. Consider including in all Conditions of Release for domestic violence offenders a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, No Use of Drugs or Alcohol, Rule 20 where appropriate, and fingerprinting to improve public safety.
3) 2009. Ensure interpretation services go beyond language specificity and are reflective of the client’s cultural experience and knowledge.
4) 2009. Pre-Sentence Investigations (PSIs) can be an excellent source of information for sentencing judges and allowing investigators the time they require to complete a thorough and corroborated PSI is essential to ensuring public safety.
5) 2009. Prior to sentencing in all domestic violence cases, the Bench should ensure that a lethality/risk assessment has been completed and that the assessment findings are considered in the sentencing.
6) 2010. In cases related to a violent crime, the strong preference is for an in-person review hearing rather than an administrative dismissals.
7) 2010. Judicial Officers must ensure that all programming and assessments ordered as a condition of probation have been completed prior to considering a discharge from probation.
8) 2010. Refer all domestic violence offenders to Hennepin County Community Corrections & Rehabilitation rather than placing them on probation to the court. Community Corrections & Rehabilitation has the capacity for closer supervision, effective risk assessment and referral to appropriate intervention services.
9) 2010. Screen for domestic violence whenever there is court action involving assaultive behavior regardless of the relationship between the perpetrator and victim. The Bench Card, developed by the Supreme Court Gender Fairness Implementation Committee, is an example of the type of screening tool that can be used.
10) 2010. When hearing multiple charges at the same time, Judicial Officers must address each charge separately in order to ensure that the consequences of each act are not minimized for the sake of judicial efficiency.
11) 2010. Grant access to juvenile records for City Attorney staff who are charging domestic abuse cases. This will allow for more accuracy in charging by allowing for accurate enhancement of charges where appropriate.
12) 2011. We encourage the court staff and members of the bench to use every opportunity to describe how the court process works and explain common legal language to victim and involved family members. This should include a clear explanation of the difference between Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders (DANCO), No Contact orders and probation condition and who to notify if the defendant violates these orders.
13) 2012. In cases that have a domestic violence elements but not explicit domestic violence charges, consider ordering domestic violence intervention and domestic risk assessment as a part of the sentence.
14) 2014. Review the efficacy of making compliance with other court divisions a condition of probation or release.
15) 2015. The Team sees a benefit to the Fourth Judicial District giving priority to hearings for revocations and violations by either returning those hearings to the sentencing judge or creating a permanent misdemeanor calendar to hear them and to actively assign appropriate consequences when requested by the probation officer.
16) 2017. Explore the development of a process or protocol to escalate responses in cases where interventions are in place but abuser continues to openly threaten harm or admit to or admissions of continued abusive behavior (criminal or otherwise).
17) 2017. Judicial Officers develop an understanding of the manner that probation enforces court orders (like no use or dv programming) and how probation determines the level of programming.
18) 2018. Integrate domestic violence screening questions into court ordered forensic psychological evaluations and chemical dependency screenings. This will help to close the gap that occurs when mental health or substance use issues are addressed by the court in domestic violence cases by domestic violence screening or programming is not ordered.