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TRENDS IN STATE COURTS 2013

Trends in State Courts 2013

NCSC's annual publication is intended to help justice system workers anticipate and manage change so as to increase public accountability. Our 25th anniversary edition, Trends in State Courts 2013, offers the court community both in-depth articles on particular issues, like access to justice, as well asĀ selected trends-in-brief that caught our eye last year.

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  • With funding support from the State Justice Institute (SJI), the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) published Measuring Rule 16.1: Colorado’s Simplified Civil Procedure Experiment in November 2012.  In 2004, Colorado implemented Rule 16.1, which established a “new pretrial procedure for district court actions involving claims of $100,000 or less between any two parties.”  This voluntary rule provided for extensive disclosures and essentially no discovery followed by a more expedited trial.  The IAALS report is the culmination of a “comprehensive empirical study of the operation and effects” of Rule 16.1, which highlights the issues of “streamlined pretrial procedures, case differentiation, and voluntary processes.”  The Rule 16.1 study is available online and in print through the NCSC Library.
  • Find out what the public thinks about the Utah State Courts in a new 2012 survey available electronically and in print in the NCSC Library.   State of Utah Administrative Office of the Courts Public Trust and Confidence Survey: Report of Findings reveals that Utah State Courts “enjoy a very positive profile in a state that has unusual confidence in its institutions.”  Additional findings and conclusions can be found in the Utah report.
  • Through the years the NCSC Library has collected several outstanding guidebooks for journalists’ use while covering state courts.  These manuals are usually published through the courts’ public information offices and typically provide instruction on state court structure, court terminology, and court proceedings in general.  The latest guidebook addition is the A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Michigan State Courts published by the Michigan Supreme Court Office of Public Information in 2012. 
  • In September 2011, the University of Kentucky College of Law and the Kentucky Law Journal hosted a symposium on the crisis of state court underfunding.  Cosponsored by the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, and LexisNexis,  this symposium brought together stakeholders for the purpose of finding solutions to these extreme budgetary shortfalls.  The speeches presented at the symposium are now available in Volume 100, Number 4 of the Kentucky Law Journal
  • The 2012 American Judicature Society publication, Inside Merit Selection: A National Survey of Judicial Nominating Commissioners, is an 81-page document disclosing the results of a nationwide survey of 487 respondents from Judicial Nominating Commissions covering 30 states and the District of Columbia.  In general, the survey reveals that “Judicial Nominating Commissions are highly functional decision-making bodies that operate in a way that is consistent with the goals that guided their creation.”  Read the complete survey analysis authored by Rachel Paine Caufield.

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