Dear Justice Partner,
Protecting the integrity of the court record is at the heart of the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s mission. That is why the Seventh Judicial Branch is undertaking a major statewide reengineering initiative aimed at better securing the court record, and ensuring court documents are shared and protected in accordance with law, policies, and court rules.
The initiative center on the process of assigning the appropriate security classifications to court documents. These security classifications determine the accessibility of court documents — whether they are available to the public at courthouse terminals or counters, whether they are shared with justice partners through Minnesota Government Access, or whether they are confidential and not accessible to the public.
Through a plan approved by the Minnesota Judicial Council, each judicial district has established specialized document acceptance teams (DATs). The DATs are comprised of staff dedicated to accepting, reviewing, and classifying electronically filed documents. This allows DAT staff to develop expertise in the complex rules that govern document security classification, and to spend more of their time becoming proficient in this important work. Best practices have been developed for use by district DAT teams and will ensure consistent practices for the document security work they preform.
The Seventh Judicial District’s DAT consists of 20 staff selected from across the district. This team will have sole responsibility for accepting, reviewing, and classifying electronically filed documents throughout the district starting July 30th. This district wide approach will leverage existing technology and our statewide case management system to provide a consistent approach to classifying electronically filed documents.
This change will not impact how you currently conduct your business with the courts and you are encouraged to continue to communicate with your local courts as necessary. You will also continue to use EFS to file documents, and to continue to be responsible for protecting the privacy of restricted identifiers and financial source documents as set out by Rule 11 of the General Rules of Practice. As we strive to ensure a consistent approach to document classification, you may initially experience an increase in deficiency notices as we bring disparate practices across the district into alignment.
If you have concerns or comments about this major re-engineering initiative, feel free to contact me.
George A. Lock
Court Administrator, 725 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud, MN 56303, #320-656-3625