APRIL 2016


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New Media & the Courts Resources


Tune into NCSC's new podcastCourt Talk

NCSC debuted this month its podcast, Court Talk, which focuses on the intersection between courts and current events. In the first episode, "Reality TV v Court Reality," moderator (and NCSC vice president) Jesse Rutledge talks to California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to discuss the impact that television shows, like "Making a Murderer," have on public perception of and trust in the courts. Rutledge takes listeners through the history of court TV shows and Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye discusses why Judge Judy is so popular, and what draws people to watch law-related TV shows. Listen to the full episode here.

California Supreme Court to live stream oral arguments
Cathal Conneely, Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of California

The Supreme Court of California is launching live webcasting with its early-May oral argument sessions, May 3-5, in San Francisco. The decision was announced by state Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye in her 2016 State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the California Legislature in March. The webcasting of oral arguments is intended to be a civic learning and engagement initiative supporting the open government efforts of the California Judicial Branch. The live stream can be accessed approximately 15 minutes before the session (at 8:45 a.m. PST) by clicking on the live stream button on the Supreme Court of California’s homepage. Arguments are scheduled for the 9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. session, and the briefs for each case are posted here.

Proposed bill would prevent juvenile defendants from using social media

An Illinois senator has proposed a law that would take away a juvenile defendant's social media accounts. Senator John Mulroe says "teens can lose their way for a number of reasons but the last thing they should be doing is posting anything to social media to get them into even more trouble." Under the existing law, courts can keep a minor from associating with certain people, like gang members. "You're already charged with a crime, by doing, putting someone on social media, specifically [photos of themselves or others] carrying a gun, possessing a gun or showing your arms crossed with guns that is going to get you in more trouble," the senator said. The bill would allow courts to hold a pretrial hearing to determine whether or not to ban a juvenile charged with a crime from accessing social media.

New guide provides social media strategies for judicial performance evaluations

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) has released a new report, Judges Aren't Sexy: Engaging and Educating Voters in a Crowded World, that "identifies a range of strategies for communicating judicial performance evaluation (JPE) results to voters." The report breaks down the issue of judicial retention elections and offers goals and solutions courts can use to educate their constituents about the importance of judicial elections. The report provides: social media communications strategies; templates for presentation of statewide and individual judge results on JPE program websites; and recommendations for coalition building and grassroots outreach to ensure all available resources are being used. 

Provincial Court Chief Judge hosts Twitter Town Hall

Canadian Provincial Court Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree hosted a Twitter Town Hall earlier this month. The session began with this tweet: "Order on #twitter. All rise. #Twitter Town Hall is now in session. CJ Crabtree now presiding, #AskChiefJudge." Legal system stakeholders, lawyers, law students asked questions about issues regarding access to justice, the court's hours of operations, and the future of the Canadian court.

Social media tip of the monthPut a positive spin on things

Rather than upsetting your constituents, say something positive and uplifting about important issues that your court audience cares about, like a new beneficial online interface or the use of therapy dogs.

We welcome suggestions for future content and feedback on current issues.
Please e-mail Deirdre Roesch.