Kansas judge to receive Rehnquist Award
Judge Steve Leben recognized for work in procedural fairness
Judge Steve Leben of the Kansas Court of Appeals has been named recipient of NCSC’s 2014 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. One of the nation’s highest judicial honors, the Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. will present the award to Judge Leben during a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court on November 20. “Judge Leben has dedicated his career to improving and broadening legal education, most recently in the area of procedural fairness,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “As a result of his groundbreaking work, the public’s trust and confidence in our country’s court system is improving.” Judge Leben said he’s honored to receive the award and grateful for the recognition it will bring to the issue of procedural fairness. “People need to feel like they are listened to by a neutral judge who explains his or her decision. The public’s view of the justice system is driven more by how they are treated by the courts than whether they win or lose their case.”
2014 CCPIO New Media Survey results released
Fewer court officials object to media sending out messages from court proceedings
The 2014 Conference of Court Public Information Officers (CCPIO) New Media Survey reveals a changing attitude by judges and court officials about the use of devices and new media during court proceedings. A year ago, nearly 66% of court officials would object to the media sending out messages from the courtroom during a proceeding. In 2014 the gap has narrowed, with only 46% percent saying it’s inappropriate. The courts increasingly recognize the expectation of the general public to bring a cell phone or mobile device into the courtroom, but generally prefer they don’t use the devices during court proceedings. The survey also reveals that while more courts are embracing the potential new media brings, the majority have not and are still grappling with the risks involved. Overall, Facebook use by courts is up by more than 5%; Twitter use increased by 3.5%; and YouTube use by 3%. Complete survey results are available on CCPIO’s website.
NCSC reading room
Improving operations via E-courtrooms, remote video
Last fall, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), with funding support from the State Justice Institute (SJI), provided the Circuit Court in Volusia County, Florida consulting assistance “to assess the space arrangement of existing courtrooms in Volusia County, and develop a set of guiding planning concepts and new standardized courtroom layout plans for future Volusia County court facility implementation. The goals of this project were to intelligently determine how Volusia County may develop new courtrooms in the future to support the evolving e-courtroom environment and present day workflow processes.” The final report, Volusia County, Florida E-Courtroom Requirements and Design Concepts, offers diagrams, floor plans, photographs, and models to help illustrate functional design concepts for courtrooms today and in the future. This title and others covering court design and e-courtroom requirements are available through the NCSC Library’s online catalog. Contact Joan Cochet, Library Resource Manager for assistance.
Courts are turning to technology to streamline operations in the wake of the economic downturn. This month’s Trends in State Courts article examines how remote video is not only saving courts money, but also improving safety for law-enforcement officers in North Carolina.