Open cases have gone down in the county, but a large majority of them– possibly as much as 80% - are criminal cases that take up valuable time and resources for the court system.
Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Melissia Mogen told the County Board of Supervisors at their December meeting on her first day, in 2017, as judge there were over 1,000 open cases. She said they are now down to a little over 700.
“In April 2018 we had 943 cases and through our efficiency by January 2019 there were 869 cases with around 600 of them criminal cases,” Mogen said. “As you can see, criminal cases take a large amount of our time.”
She added her goal has always been to get through cases quickly without violating anyone’s constitutional rights to due process.
Mogen also had data and statistics from bail and bond forfeitures. A defendant forfeits their bail or bond if they do not show up for court.
In 2015 the county collected $5,000 in forfeited bail and bonds, the following year it dropped to $4,000 and in 2017 it sunk to $2,600, according to Mogen.
However, over the last two years the county has collected $10,000 every year with the money going directly into the county’s general fund.
Mogen also said the county has been proactive with their justice program, including the drug court program being run by Tessa Anderson.
“We have started using the electronic monitors a lot more,” Mogen said.
The electronic monitoring system is similar to house arrest. There is a GPS tracker in the device and the county can track these people at all times. Mogen said a lot of OWI convictions use the electronic monitoring system.
“We’re looking forward to 2020,” Mogen declared. “We will continue working on our efficiency in the new year.”
The Burnett County Courthouse is set to get a new sound system and video conference equipment in 2020.