Judge Melissia Mogen spent her first two years on the bench to lower the caseload she was given in 2017. A second judge and courtroom could really help with that issue Mogen said.
Mogen gave the Board of Supervisors an update on the courtroom during COVID-19. Many of the hearings are being held virtually, the attorneys and defendants are attending through Zoom with Mogen in the courtroom and is being broadcast on YouTube.
“I never thought I’d be doing court on YouTube Live but that’s where we’re at with COVID,” Mogen said.
When Mogen was elected judge, she was handed a caseload of 1.72, meaning the number of cases could be handled by one judge and 72% of a second judge. When she began on the bench she put processes in place and in 2019 the caseload was down to 1.36.
“I can handle that amount of cases,” Mogen said.
Since COVID-19 began the backlog started once again. The caseload has risen back up to 1.65 and Burnett County will soon be the number three county in the state in terms of high caseloads.
Mogen was saying all this to plant a seed in board members to think about getting a second judge and second courtroom.
“I’m planting a seed in your ear about getting another judge. It’s something we need to think about,” Mogen said. “I can handle 1.36, but 1.65 is very hard.”
There was a bit of good news as Mogen reported Bayfield County John Anderson will be helping out with Burnett County caseload. Mogen explained his caseload is .7 which is how he will be able to help. Also, Court Commissioner James Krupa has been helping Mogen with the caseload.
Mogen also spoke about the new security doors and sound system in the courtroom. She was glad to have the updates done in time for COVID-19.
“The new sound system has been a lot of help with Zoom and telephone hearings,” Mogen said.
Last year, the new sound system was approved following a number of technical issues happening in the courtroom.
The sound system was scheduled to cost around $56,000. During COVID-19 it has been very helpful to have a system that works especially with court being held remotely.
“I’m holding court on YouTube Live,” Mogen explained. “I never thought I’d be doing that.”