Volume 5, Issue 6 June 2014
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NCSC hosts 2014 Juvenile Justice Summit
Summit created to promote and implement juvenile justice reform

NCSC recently hosted a regional Juvenile Justice Reform Summit in Seattle, Washington.  The summit showcased juvenile justice reform strategies and best practices that were developed and implemented as part of the Models for Change initiative, which was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Thirteen states and two U.S. territories sent teams to the summit.  The education programs focused on six issues—legal representation for youth coming in contact with the juvenile justice system; coordinated responses for youth that are involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare system; screening for and addressing the needs of youth coming in contact with the juvenile justice system with behavioral health disorders; reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system; and improving the quality of probation services.  During the summit, each state and territory developed an action plan for implementing one or more reforms that addressed at least one of the above issues.  Each state or territory will be implementing the reforms within the next six to nine months.  NCSC will follow-up with each state/territory to see if technical assistance is needed.  Additionally, the soon to be released, Trends in State Courts 2014 will feature articles on juvenile justices reform strategies developed under the Models for Change initiative.

Registration open for FCICE Exam
Exam tests job-relevant language ability in English and Spanish

Registration for the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE) Spanish/English written examination is now open. Candidates must register during the open registration period (May 15 - August 8, 2014).  The exam will be administered September 1-14, 2014. The written examination is a multiple-choice examination of job-relevant language ability in English and Spanish. The written examination tests comprehension of written text; knowledge of vocabulary, idioms, and grammar; and the ability to select an appropriate target-language rendering of source-language text. Candidates who successfully pass the Phase One written examination of the FCICE must pass the Phase Two oral examination to be certified.  NCSC administers the FCICE under contract with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.  The FCICE written exam and the FCICE oral exam (which will be administered in 2015) are for the certification of federal court interpreters. To learn more about the Phase One written examination, please review the FCICE Examinee Handbook.

Gavel to Gavel gearing up for November elections
Voters to decide on judicial salaries, retirement, and selection

This month's special edition of Gavel to Gavel tracks legislation in nine states that will be on the November ballot and can change the way those states' judicial branches function. As of this month, court-related ballot proposals for the fall elections include changes to the way judicial salaries are set (Arkansas), mandatory judicial retirement ages (Hawaii and Louisiana), judicial selection (Florida, Hawaii, and Tennessee), and the creation of an intermediate appellate court (Nevada).

Court associations' annual meetings on horizon
Programs range from perceptions of justice to an aging population's effect on the courts

Several court associations are holding their annual conferences this summer. Below is a list, including conference themes for those associations that identify one. For complete agendas, please visit each association's website. 

July 13–17

NACM, National Association for Court Management
Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Embracing the Courts of the Future: Blueprint for Action"

July 13–18 NCACC, National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks
Richmond, Va.

July 19–23 CCJ/COSCA, Conference of Chief Justices
Conference of State Court Administrators
White Sulfur Springs, W. Va.
"The Silver Tsunami: The Effects of an Aging Population on State Courts"

Aug. 3–6 NASJE, National Association of State Judicial Educators
Chicago, Ill.
"Perceptions of Justice: Improving Public Trust and Confidence Through Judicial Branch Education"

Aug. 4–6 CCPIO, Conference of Court Public Information Officers
Las Vegas, Nev.


Nineteen ICM Fellows graduate at U.S. Supreme Court
Students successfully complete court management program

Nineteen court professionals from around the country graduated in May from the Institute for Court Management's (ICM) Fellows program. The ceremony took place at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C.  Class spokesperson, Faye M. Guertin, deputy court administrator from Chandler, Arizona, spoke about the recent transition of the ICM Fellows Program to broaden access to court personnel interested in participating in this rigorous court leadership development program.  She stated that now, participants can still undergo the "Williamsburg Experience"—or those with financial or other challenges can earn the status of Fellow via distance learning.  Guertin said that the "ICM Fellows Program has provided all of us graduates with the skills and knowledge to keep striving forward with purpose and direction," and that these skills and abilities will reinforce the commitment to improving court administration as a profession.  The ICM Fellows Program was established more than 40 years ago, in part, by Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger in his call for improving court administration. The program prepares court professionals for management and leadership positions.  Since the first class of graduates in 1970, over 1,200 court professionals in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and 12 foreign countries have become Fellows.

NCSC reading room
Implicit bias and jury instructions

A study on implicit bias, Can Explicit Instructions Reduce Expressions of Implicit Bias? : New Questions Following a Test of a Specialized Jury Instruction, has been recently added to the NCSC Library's collection.  This 2014 report was funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI) and authored by NCSC staff Jennifer K. Elek and Paula Hannaford-Agor.  The purpose of this study is to address the problem of racial bias in juror decision making. As noted in the introduction, "some judges have expressed interest in developing a specialized instruction on implicit bias to include in the set of jury instructions typically proffered on the applicable law governing the case.  To date, no known studies have examined the effect of a specialized implicit bias jury instruction on expressions of racial bias in jurors' judgments about a case. The authors explore this possibility for the first time in the present study."  For additional information on this topic, this report offers six pages of references.  For more information, please feel free to contact Joan Cochet, NCSC Library Resource Manager at jcochet@ncsc.org.

Veterans treatment courts are currently operating in many states.  This month's Trends in State Courts article examines the emergence of these courts and their current natural status.