Volume 5, Issue 9 September 2014
area area area area area

New poster offers juror guidelines
Complimentary poster available for pre-order

In response to a pervasive problem of jurors inappropriately using the Internet and social media, NCSC developed a poster, “Juror Responsibilities Regarding the Internet and Social Media,” for the court community. The poster is designed to encourage jurors to follow the court’s instructions and refrain from inappropriate Internet or social media use while serving on a jury. The demand for the poster has been so overwhelming—six states requested posters for statewide use, and several metropolitan court systems, federal courts, municipal courts, tribal courts, and others requested numerous posters—that it is being reprinted and will be available in early November. If your court would like to display the poster, you may pre-order complimentary copies by emailing ghurley@ncsc.org. A digital version of the poster is available, and courts are free to print copies.

Nominate a court leader for NCSC Burger Award
Recognition for advancing court administration

NCSC is seeking nominations for the 2014 Warren E. Burger Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration. This prestigious national annual award honors a state court system administrative official who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment. The award honors those who have taken decisive steps to improve the operation of courts at the state or local level that may have application to courts nationwide. Last year’s recipient was David K. Byers, Administrative Director of the Arizona Courts. Nominations must be received by October 10, 2014.

New model time standards provide guidance for
state appellate courts
Useful for performance goals & funding

 A recently released report, Model Time Standards for State Appellate Courts, provides courts with the necessary information and guidance to implement their own time standards or reexamine current time-to-disposition goals. The new model time standards are designed to provide state appellate courts with a set of goals, inform legislatures in providing adequate funding to allow courts to achieve these goals, and guide future revisions of applicable court rules and operating procedures that can affect how long appellate courts take to resolve the cases before them. “The timely resolution of cases is probably the most widely accepted objective measure of court operations,” the report states, adding that in a time of limited funding, “it is increasingly important to demonstrate how well courts are operating relative to achieving their mission and goals, and accountability for their use of public resources.” The model appellate court time standards are the result of a project of the Joint Court Management Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators, with participation and input from the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks, and members of the American Bar Association. Funding was provided by the State Justice Institute.

Staff conducts security assessments in Wyoming
Consultants to present recommendations for court security enhancements

NCSC recently conducted security assessments throughout Wyoming to assist the state supreme court in its effort to understand and promote court security improvements. Consultants will conduct their final four assessments in the state and then present the Wyoming Supreme Court with specific recommendations regarding equipment, architectural, and operational enhancements at specific court sites. NCSC will also present overall court security and safety recommendations relevant to the entire state judiciary. NCSC’s security team is composed of nationally recognized security experts and provides technical assistance in the areas of assessment, strategic planning, and training. Over the last ten years, the security team has conducted over 150 court security projects across the country in courts of all jurisdictions and sizes.

Sandra Day O’Connor Award nominations now accepted
Award for the advancement of civics education

Nominations are being accepted until November 3, 2014 for the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education. This award honors an organization, court, or individual who has promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education relating to the justice system. Candidates can be nominated by members of the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, or members of the NCSC Board of Directors. Nominations must include a letter detailing the person’s or organization’s civics education accomplishments, a description of the program, and at least two letters of reference. Justice O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006, and since has become a tireless advocate for improving civics education.

Submit articles for Trends 2015
NCSC reviewing ideas for print, online editions

Submissions for the 2015 edition of Trends in State Courts are now being accepted. Send e-mail abstracts of no more than 500 words by October 15, 2014, to Deborah Smith at the National Center for State Courts. Abstracts received after this date are welcome and will be considered for Trends’ monthly online edition. Trends in State Courts is an annual, peer-reviewed publication that highlights innovative practices in critical areas that are of interest to courts, and often serves as a guide for developing new initiatives and programs and informing and supporting policy decisions.

NCSC reading room
Human trafficking, unaccompanied alien children

Ten years ago, the NCSC Library did not have any cataloged titles on human trafficking. Today, we have numerous titles on this subject, including two recent additions: Human Trafficking: What Judges Need to Know (2014) from the National Judicial College and the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute, with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and A Guide to Human Trafficking for State Courts (2014), published by the National Association for Court Management (NACM) and the Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative, with funding support from the State Justice Institute (SJI).  A Guide to Human Trafficking for State Courts is “intended to support the efforts of courts not only in their traditional role of independent adjudicators, but also in their role as justice system and community leaders. Consequently, even though state court judges and personnel are the primary audience for the HT Guide, we are confident that numerous other groups concerned about human trafficking—such as health and human service organizations, law enforcement agencies, and victim advocates—should find it valuable too.” For print copies of these titles, or for more information on this topic, please contact Joan Cochet, Library Resource Manager, at jcochet@ncsc.org.

The dramatic increase in unaccompanied alien children entering the United States will affect state courts. This month’s online Trends in State Courts article tells courts what to expect regarding cases related to this immigration crisis.