NCSC in the News

After two decades of service, Utah’s court administrator announces he will be retiring in May

State Court Administrator Dan Becker has announced he will be retiring May 1, after 21 years of service. "Utah's court system is the international gold standard," for state court systems, said Mary C. McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story.

Retired Utah appellate judge receives national achievement award

Retired Utah Court of Appeals Judge William Thorne Jr. was honored Wednesday for distinguished service by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story.

Justice Watch: Do We Actually Know What Implicit Bias Means?

First, everyone has implicit bias.  Everyone.  People often use the race of the officer as a means to argue against racism in the police, but that isn’t necessarily true.  First, we are not talking about “racism” or what we might call “explicit bias” which, according to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), “reflects the attitudes or beliefs that one endorses at a conscious level.” Read the full story.

CALA kicks off Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week; trial lawyers denounce it

The WVAJ says the claims WV CALA makes simply aren’t true, and it cites data from the National Center for State Courts and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Read the full story.

Senior public officials well-paid in Coweta

Coweta Circuit judges are near the top of the national salary range according to a study by the National Center for State Courts. The median national salary for judges of general jurisdiction trial courts is $132,500, and the range is $104,170 to $178,835. Read the full story.

Bioauthentication reaches new levels with retinal scans

Retinal scans are believed to be the second most secure biometric authentication method after DNA testing. As reported by the National Center for State Courts, they have a reported failure rate of one in 10 million. Read the full story.

Report Issued on Missouri Judges Performance

Committee chairman Dale Doerhoff says the 21-member panel collects information about the performance of judges up for retention. "We did a study with a grant from the National Center for State Courts, and we found that the people were interested in the performance evaluation information that we provided, but weren't necessarily interested in having lawyers tell the people how we thought they should vote," Doerhoff says. Read the full story.

Yup'ik speaker is 1st to be official court interpreter

Crystal Garrison, supervisor for Alaska Court System's in-court clerks in Bethel, recently passed the National Center for State Courts' written exam for court interpreters. Read the full story.

The Digital Courtroom

A number of factors undermined the use of audio recording technology in Massachusetts: When the administration installed digital recording systems in all but the superior courts, it ignored over a decade of recommendations from the Study Committee, the National Center for State Courts, and the Conference of State Court Administrators. Read the full story.

RCVA hosts second Masquerade Ball Benefit

Honorable Judge Barbara Arnold Harcourt will be the guest speaker at the second annual Masquerade Ball Benefit for Rush County Victims Assistance (RCVA). The benefit will be held during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the 201 Building on Saturday, Oct. 29. She has been honored for her innovative justice work by receiving the Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award and, this past July, the National Center for State Courts’ Distinguished Service Award. Read the full story.

Chief Justice Minton says expungement requests have doubled over past year as result of new law

In July 2016, Minton was elected by his fellow chief justices to serve a one-year term as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. Read the full story.

Taft students get crash course in the Constitution

Judge Julie Cantrell was at Taft to teach about one of America's founding documents and to celebrate Constitution Day a few days after the anniversary of the signing of the document, which fell this year on a Saturday. The week before she came to be with the students she delivered the latest National Center for State Courts comic book, "The Case of No Pets Allowed," which was used to teach a part of the U.S. Constitution. Read the full story.

New study: State needs 17 more judicial officers

A study conducted for the Indiana judiciary by the National Center for State Courts surveyed judges and judicial officers in every county of the state who tracked the time they spent on cases last October. Read the full story.

Panel endorses new magistrates for Clark, Shelby County courts

Judges in the county have a state-highest utilization rate of 1.45, which means on average they are doing 45 percent more work than they should, according to an analysis by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story.

Chief Justice Minton says judges need higher wages, will present judicial redistricting plan next legislative session

Minton says he will present a comprehensive redistricting plan circuit, district and family courts for the General Assembly’s consideration in the upcoming legislative session. The Administrative Office of the Courts is working with the National Center for State Courts as well as the Judicial Workload Assessment Committee, a panel appointed by Minton that includes judges, circuit court clerks, prosecutors and legislators, on a redistricting strategy, Minton said. Read the full story.

Sarah Glassmeyer: Opening a window on closed data

Court funding is a hurdle. According to William Raftery, senior knowledge and information services analyst with the National Center for State Courts, there’s hardly enough money in many states to keep courthouses open, so digital information that’s easily accessible is not a high priority. Read the full story.

Editorial: Vote yes on M94 to stop mandatory retirement for judges

The idea of forcing judges to retire at a certain age goes back to the Revolutionary era, according to William Raftery of the National Center for State Courts. Writing for the publication Trends in State Courts, Raftery said more than 30 states have such provisions, and voters have been reluctant to repeal them, even as such limits are removed in other areas due to improved life expectancy and vitality at older ages. Read the full story.

Proposed juvenile court work reviewed

Tim Bechtol, an architect with Peterman Associates, and Judge Kristen Johnson, of the county probate and juvenile court, took the Hancock County commissioners on a tour of the court offices Tuesday to view proposed improvement areas. Bechtol said the upgrades and improvements are based on National Center for State Courts guidelines. Read the full story.

These lying cops are proof that recording the police works

With video evidence calling police accounts into question, the public now appears to be less willing to take their statements at face value. According to an article by Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts, “It is likely that both grand and petit jurors will show less deference to police testimony, at least in situations in which there is or should be supporting video evidence.” Read the full story.

A Three-Branch Approach to Child Welfare Reform

The Three Branch Institute, a technical assistance effort that was founded in 2009 as a partnership among the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Casey Family Programs, the National Center for State Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, has helped dozens of states work across the three branches of government to address the most pressing child welfare issues. Read the full story.

Appellate judges, attorneys to visit Hoosier classrooms to celebrate Constitution Day

This year’s presentations will be based on “Justice Case Files 6: The Case of No Pets Allowed.” The “Justice Case Files” graphic novel series was developed by the National Center for State Courts to help judges and attorneys teach students about how the court system works. Read the full story.

Inc. 5000 hotshot: Clearwater firm brings tech savvy, interpreter skills to health care

Fetterolf, who earlier ran another young health care tech firm that hit the Inc. 5000 list, is the first to acknowledge that Stratus Video can't be a one-product phenom for long. To sustain its high growth rate, the firm is leveraging its interpreter technology to meet another rising need: legally mandated translation in the courts. Stratus Video this summer was chosen by the National Center for State Courts as a preferred vendor. Read the full story.

First-in-state court podcast humanizes judges

The show, called "Open Ninth: Conversations Beyond the Courtroom," posts every Monday morning  on the court's website. The first of its kind in the state, the podcast hosted by Lauten features personal stories from judges and interviews innovators in the legal field. It kicked off Aug. 15 as part of a communications plan put in place by the Florida Supreme Court that seeks to better connect with citizens. Courts nationwide are jumping on the social media bandwagon too. According to the National Center for State Courts, 16 high courts or their administrations use Facebook while 31 turn to Twitter. Lower trial courts in 28 states use some form of social media, the center found. Read the full story on the Orlando Sentinel. 

Opioid addiction tackled in first-ever regional summit

The Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative Opening Summit, initiated by the Supreme Court and the first of its kind, took place over three days last week in Cincinnati and brought together judges, criminal justice officers, public health experts, and addiction specialists from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, as well as the federal government. Read the full story on Court News Ohio.

Chief Justice Lee Shares Accomplishments Of Supreme Court With Chief Justices

Chief Justice Sharon Lee presented the Tennessee Supreme Court’s initiatives to Chief Justices from supreme courts across the country at the National Conference of Chief Justices during their annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wy. Read the full story on the

Indiana judge to receive distinguished service award

Senior Indiana Judge Barbara Harcourt is the recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards presented by the organization. The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the justice system and who have supported the mission of NCSC. Read the full story on the Rushville Republican.

How the Burger Court shaped today's conversations on race and crime

Former Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger played a pivotal role in founding the National Center for State Courts. A new book talks about the lasting influences of the Burger Court. Read more about the book The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right.

Lawsuit Fights Low Jury Pay That Hasn’t Changed Since 1959

Three Washington state residents are suing their county over low pay for jurors. According to a complaint filed against last week, jurors in King County are paid 10 dollars per day plus travel expenses. As a point of reference, federal courts pay $40 per day. According to the National Center for State Courts, states vary greatly when it comes to juror payment, with $50 per day being the most, and a number of states paying $10 or even less. Read the full story on Law Newz.

The Never-Ending Battle Over Selecting Oklahoma's Most Powerful Judges

The Oklahoma House and Senate approved measures to change the way the state’s most powerful judges are selected, although none of the proposals became law or made it to the November ballot. Over the past decade, state lawmakers have grown more critical of the process for selecting judges, said Bill Raftery, senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit judicial research center. Read the full story on

LA Court's Avatar Cuts Wait Times at Counter

Los Angeles Superior Court’s new traffic assistant, Gina, has long brown hair, a peachy complexion and wears a dark, purple jacket. The unique characteristic about Gina is that she’s not human, she’s an avatar. The avatar idea is the brainchild of Sherri Carter, who was appointed Court Executive Officer and Clerk of Court of Los Angeles Superior Court in 2013. Carter has been acknowledged with a 2016 National Center of State Courts’ Distinguished Service Award for her creative technology solution. Read the full story on Courthouse News Service.

Kentucky chief justice to head national judiciary groups

Kentucky’s Chief Justice has been selected to head two national judicial groups. It’s the first time in a quarter century that a head jurist from the Commonwealth has held either of these posts. Chief Justice John Minton is beginning a one year stint as president of the Conference of Chief Justices as well as being chair the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. Read the full story on

Scientifically Proven Reasons For Why Lawyers Should Practice Mindfulness

There are many reasons for why mindfulness practices can benefit everyone, not just lawyers. However, in doing research for a Forbes article, I came across a body of research that is especially applicable for lawyers: mindfulness reduces implicit bias. According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), implicit bias is defined as: "[b]ias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit stereotypes) that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control." Read the full story on Above the Law.

Wisconsin Supreme Court allows state to continue using computer program to assist in sentencing

Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices unanimously agreed to allow the state to continue using a computer program to help judges determine how criminal defendants should be sentenced. The state's high court ruled Wednesday that the computer program, COMPAS, was appropriately used in the case of Eric Loomis, who is serving six years in prison for driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police. "The National Center for State Courts has been encouraging corrections to adopt tools for predicting individual defendants’ risks of re-offense for a number of years," said Cecelia Klingele, a University of Wisconsin Law School professor who studies sentencing policy. Read the full story on on the Cap Times.

Sheriff: Inmate who killed 2 at Michigan courthouse was handcuffed

A Michigan sheriff pledged Tuesday to review his department's guidelines for transporting suspects charged with violent crimes after an inmate who was cuffed in front rather than behind his back wrested a gun from a deputy and killed two court bailiffs. Nathan Hall, a consultant with the National Center for State Courts, which advises court officials on security, said it is best if two deputies transport an inmate. One — armed with a stun gun or baton, but not a firearm — would escort the defendant directly. The second deputy, armed with a gun, would trail at a safe distance. Read the full story on the Chicago Tribune.

Jurors in Minnesota are getting a 100 percent raise starting next week

When you’re summoned for jury duty, you’ll be getting paid double than what you did before. The Minnesota Judicial Branch is raising the per diem pay for jurors by 100 percent – from $10 to $20 a day. According to the National Center for State Courts, per diem juror compensation varies by state, ranging from $6 a day in Missouri to up to $50 a day in South Dakota if you’re a sworn-in juror. Read the full story on Bring Me the News.

Facebook post by judge leads to new trial

New Mexico judges need to exercise caution when it comes to using social media, according to the state’s highest court. In a ruling on a defendant’s retrial, the New Mexico Supreme Court ended up issuing guidelines for judges who utilizing Facebook and other online platforms. Greg Hurley, an analyst at the National Center for State Courts, said courts can address issues of keeping up with changing technology by training judges. Read the full story on the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Cuyahoga County Chief Magistrate graduates from exclusive fellows program

She’s devoted her entire career to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Division of Domestic Relations and recently Chief Magistrate Serpil Ergun joined an exclusive group of court professionals after becoming a fellow of the Institute for Court Management (ICM). Read the full story on the Akron Legal News.

PBS' Tavis Smiley, in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, to explore the U.S. judicial system in COURTING JUSTICE

avis Smiley, host of the late night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, is convening a series of town hall meetings under the banner COURTING JUSTICE, the first of which was held in Los Angeles on June 10th and will air on PBS stations on June 22nd. Read the full story on the PR Newswire.

Court battle looming on maximum age for PA judges

What began four years ago as a legislative initiative with little controversy — letting voters decide whether to raise the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 — is now entangled in a heated court battle. Initiatives to increase the mandatory retirement age have fared poorly, said Bill Raftery, a senior analyst with the nonprofit National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on The Morning Call.

Building one entrance for court buildings could cost over $3M

It could cost over $3 million to create a common entrance between the two Hancock County court buildings and the Findlay Municipal building, and still maintain pedestrian traffic from the Dorney Plaza to West Main Cross Street. That option was the most expensive of four concepts created by the National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Virginia, to improve security at the entrances of Hancock County Courthouse. Read the full story on

Auburn PD coping with worst kind of loss, 'really struggling emotionally'

Auburn Police Detective Sgt. R. Scott Mills says he knows what people are expecting him to say. He said reporters and others have called him this week to find out how he feels about the man who allegedly shot and killed Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. on Sunday morning in May. Greg Hurley, an analyst with the National Center for State Courts, based in Virginia, said personal recognizance can be typical for misdemeanor and traffic violation cases. The center assists courts with judicial administration matters, including with training and research.  Read the full story on the Telegram.

Should Colorado court documents be free on public library computers?

Name the one place in Colorado where someone who isn’t a lawyer can look at digital images of civil court documents on file anywhere in the state. The Colorado Supreme Court’s law library in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center in downtown Denver. No state has “one-stop shopping” for electronic court records, but some are expanding remote public access, said Bill Raftery, an analyst at the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on the Colorado Independent.

Arizona Republicans try to bring back court-packing

NCSC analyst Bill Raftery was quoted in an article about "court-packing" by Republicans in Arizona. Read the full article in the Atlantic.

Media attention, hot-button issues add challenges to seating a jury

Jury selection is a challenging, yet necessary, process for prosecutors and defense attorneys, especially for the ones involved in a recent murder trial in Ventura County, California. An article in the Ventura County Star breaks down how the jury was selected, and NCSC's Knowledge and Information Analyst Greg Hurley provides insight on jurors who are dismissed for "cause." Read the full story in the Ventura County Star.

Serving jury duty? Why jurors are often left without counseling

Did you know that ONLY two states have laws to provide juror counseling? Can name them? NBC News reports on juror counseling and references a 2015 NCSC study on the matter. Read the full story on

Merced court first in state to get security training program

The Merced County Superior Court in in California will soon be the first in the state to receive a security training program. NCSC is assisting the court develop an online curriculum. Read more.