The success of Lewisville’s digital approach can be seen both in the statistical impact, as well as the growing vision for increased digital services.
Lewisville has seen increased court disposition and clearance rates, improved defendant court attendance, a reduction in excessive warrants and failure to appears, and increased sagging collection rates.
Despite a declining number of citations issued, nearly a 40% drop compared to pre-COVID numbers, collections from the court have grown year over year after a dip in 2020. Case clearance rates also have seen an increase of over 10% from 2021 to 2022.
“We’ve seen a higher turnout for court,” said Leonard. “And, long term, we may be efficient enough that our team could become even smaller the more we automate things. But right now, the biggest benefit is increased fine collections despite decreased ticket issuance going. We’ve received fewer tickets filed in the court, but the revenue has stayed the same or increased. And I think that’s just a result of being more efficient and getting people to resolve their cases sooner before they forget.”
New tools — such as online jury registration — while still in their infancy are picking up steam, as well, Leonard said, with nearly 500 residents already taking advantage of the online process. For Leonard, it’s a sign of where things can grow.
“Ultimately I want to get to the point where our legal team would agree to let us send text messages out to everybody from the minute they get their ticket,” he said of future development. “I think we would see a lot of success because people have told us that had they not received a text message they would’ve forgotten about their court date. It’s been really helpful for people.”
Despite the efficiencies for staff and costs, or the increased collections from declining issuances, Leonard believes that the digital approach to court services goes beyond providing conveniences; it builds a stronger relationship between the courts and the community.