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Reporters should contact Director of Communications Lorri Montgomery at 757-259-1525.

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North Dakota chief justice named state's Rough Rider Award winner

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple announced he has named Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle the 41st recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens. Justice VandeWalle has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court for more than 36 years and was recently re-elected to his fourth 10-year term. He has served as the court’s Chief Justice for the past 21 years, making him the longest-serving Chief Justice in North Dakota history and the longest-serving of all sitting Chief Justices across the nation.

VandeWalle has served as past President of the Conference of Chief Justices, past chair of the National Center for State Courts, and past chair of the National Center for State Court’s Research Advisory Council.

VandeWalle has received several national awards and recognitions, including the Kutak Award from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar recognizing substantial contributions toward increased understanding between legal education and the active practice of law; the American Inns of Court Professionalism award for the 8th Circuit; the National Center for State Courts Paul C. Reardon Award for outstanding contributions to the justice system; and the Warren Burger Society Award recognizing volunteers who have given extraordinary contributions of service to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story.

NCSC in the news

Courts plunge into the digital age

If you walked into a courthouse a decade ago, you might have seen file clerks pushing carts and searching for case folders, paralegals lugging stacks of paperwork to the clerk’s office and staffers entering mounds of documents by hand into a computer system, if there was one. That picture has been changing dramatically in many courthouses across the country. States are moving to systems in which documents are submitted electronically, file rooms are disappearing and the judicial system is going paperless. “We’ve got 50 states and everybody is doing some kind of e-filing project. That was not true even at the beginning of this year. It’s really exciting,” said Jim McMillan, technology consultant for the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Elder guardianship: A well-oiled machine

Florida law has a checklist of 14 rights that an elder may surrender as a result of the guardianship process — including the right to marry, to vote, to manage finances, to determine where to live and to accept medical care. If the elder has capacity to exercise some of these rights, the thinking goes, the guardianship can be limited and less intrusive. But in the paperwork of a typical case file, the examining committee members simply check all the boxes on the list of rights. “A full or plenary guardianship should be the very last resort,” says Brenda K. Uekert, principal research consultant for the National Center for State Courts. “But in most cases that’s not true. In most cases, a full guardianship is simply easier.” Read the full story in the Herald Tribune.

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News releases

New Mexico AOC Director named 2014 Warren E. Burger Award recipient

Arthur W. Pepin, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts in New Mexico, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Warren E. Burger Award, one of the highest awards presented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Named for the late Chief Justice of the United States, the Warren E. Burger award honors a state court system administrative official who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment. Read the full press release. 

Six new members inducted into Burger Society

NCSC inducted six new members into the Warren E. Burger Society during its Annual Recognition Luncheon, Thursday, November 20, 2014. The luncheon, held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., was hosted by Arkansas Chief Justice Jim Hannah, president of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and chair of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Board of Directors. Read the full press release.

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