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

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If you're interested in receiving news releases from NCSC, send an e-mail to Director of Communications Lorri Montgomery with your name and e-mail address. Please include "Add Me to Release Mailing List" in the subject line.

An emoji can and will be used against you in a court of law

Like texts and tweets, emojis are a common form of communication, and because we use them so often, they are being included in court cases. According to an article on, several arrests and prosecutions have included emojis. For example, a Pennsylvania man who was convicted for using Facebook posts to threaten his ex-wife, has claimed that a threatening post toward her was clearly meant in “jest” because he included a smiley sticking its tongue out. Of course, emojis are often based on interpretation. Greg Hurley, an analyst for the National Center for State Courts, sates “To me, emoji are no different than drug slang in a criminal controlled substances case. They may need some interpretation in some situations, in others the content may be obvious.” Read the full article.

NCSC in the news

Use of court interpreters up in Hampton Roads as language barriers persist

In the past three years, the use of language interpreters in Hampton Roads courtrooms has increased by 32 percent as more people who need English assistance enter the criminal justice system. But their barrier is not only language — they must also understand the rules and jargon of the judicial system. Interpreter pay depends on the language. Certified Spanish interpreters are paid $60 an hour, with a two-hour minimum. Uncertified Spanish interpreters earn $40 an hour. To be certified, a person must be tested through the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story in the Daily Press.

Who Likes the Court System? You Might Be Surprised...

According to the 2014 State of State Courts Poll, public perception of the state courts has improved in all categories since measured in a survey in April of 2012. GBA Strategies, on behalf of the National Center for State Courts, asked 1,000 registered voters last November to weigh in questions ranging from procedural fairness and customer service to judges’ work hours and salaries. Read the full story on


News releases

Colorado civics education program named recipient of Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Advancement of Civics Education

Judicially Speaking, a Colorado-based civics education program, has been named recipient of the 2015 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education, presented annually by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The award honors an organization, court, or individual who has promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education related to the justice system. Details of the awards presentation have not been finalized. Read the full press release.

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.