|Public Release Date: September 11, 1998
Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution established the judicial branch. This branch of state government interprets the laws and cases that come before it and must be certain that challenged laws do not violate the constitution. The state judicial branch has several levels of courts. Each court has specific jurisdictions that determine which types of cases it can hear. Our audit focused on three of the courts -- the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the District Courts. The Honorable Kathleen Blatz is the current Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Honorable Edward Toussaint is the current Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. In addition, each of the ten Judicial Districts is served by a chief judge elected by the judges of that district.
The objectives of our audit were to gain an understanding of the internal control structure over the accounting and reporting of the Minnesota Supreme Court's financial activities and to determine if the courts complied with material finance-related legal provisions. We reviewed certain operations conducted by the various boards under the Supreme Court. We reviewed the revenues collected by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. The expenditure areas reviewed included payroll, rent, purchased services, supplies, equipment, and grants.
We concluded that the Minnesota Supreme Court designed and implemented internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that transactions were properly authorized and accurately reported in the state's accounting system. However, we did note some separation of duty weaknesses in the payroll area. We also found that the Minnesota Supreme Court generally complied with applicable statutory provisions. However, the Supreme Court advanced rather than reimbursed funds to the Second Judicial District for certain expenditures in violation of Minnesota statute.
The Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with our two findings and have begun to work towards implementing the recommendations.