@TheCenter from NCSC


New at ncsc.org: Communities to help you collaborate and network (and a facelift!)

The ncsc.org home page has a new look, designed to feature our most-used online products, NCSC news, readouts of our social media feeds, and our newest innovation for the state courts,  NCSC Connected Community.  Over 400 of our constituents have logged on since our initial invitation in late July—and the online conversations are flowing. Individual members have started their own communities on topics such as social media and public electronic access to court documents and are asking and answering each others' questions and posting documents and other resources to a community library for future reference.  Trying to find your peers at courts in other regions or states? The network search will help you find and connect with them. Too busy to check the site? We understand—log in once, set your email preferences to Daily Digest, and you'll receive only one email early each day, summarizing the previous day's posts so you can catch up at a glance without ever going on the Web.  Don't miss out! Request your credentials here.


Judge committed to helping the mentally ill named recipient of William H. Rehnquist Award

A Florida judge who has changed the way courts handle cases involving people with mental illnesses has been named recipient of NCSC’s William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. Steven Leifman, Associate Administrative Judge of the Miami-Dade County Court-Criminal Division, is being recognized for his groundbreaking work helping people with mental illnesses who are either in the criminal justice system or at-risk of incarceration. 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 Leifman during a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on November 19.


CTC plenary sessions focus on innovation and hands-on tech

NCSC’s Court Technology Conference (CTC 2015) takes over the Minneapolis Convention Center September 22-24. In addition to six themed education tracks, this year’s conference features three dynamic plenary sessions.  The conference opens Tuesday morning with a presentation from Mark Britton, Founder and CEO of Avvo. Britton's keynote will address "The Innovation Imperative." Wednesday morning will begin with a high-energy Midnote session on Tech Tips, featuring hands-on information every court professional can use.  The conference will conclude Thursday afternoon with an Endnote delivered by Laurie Dudgeon and Heather Pettit.  Dudgeon serves as the Director of the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, while Pettit serves as Chief Information Officer for the Contra Costa (California) Superior Court.  Together they will pull three days worth of content into a summary form and provide attendees with several “Aha!” moments that tie together the highlights of CTC 2015.  Register for CTC before August 31 to secure the best available rate.


NCSC accepting nominations for Burger Award

The National Center for State Courts is accepting nominations for the Warren E. Burger Award, the highest award recognizing a court administrator who has significantly contributed to improving the administration of the state courts.  Service may be at the local, state, or national level.  This prestigious award honors an individual who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment. Nominations are due no later than Friday, October 16, 2015.


How are courts using VAWA funds?

NCSC released a new report last week that describes how state courts are accessing and using Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds that are devoted to court reform.  The report notes that all but four states and territories now have a designated Violence Against Women point of contact in their state court office.  This is a significant change since 2003, when fewer than half of all states/territories had such a designated position.  Researchers also found that STOP funds are most often used to support judicial and court staff training about domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. More information can be found at www.vawaandcourts.org.


New leadership named for NCSC Board of Directors

NCSC has announced its new leadership for 2015-2016. South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson, the new president of the Conference of Chief Justices, has been named chair of the NCSC Board of Directors. Delaware State Court Administrator Patricia Griffin, new president of the Conference of State Court Administrators, has been named vice-chair of NCSC’s Board. They assumed their new positions during NCSC’s Board of Directors meeting and the CCJ/COSCA Annual Conference in Omaha, Nebraska in late July.


NCSC reading room

A large percentage of young African-American men in major American cities are behind bars or have been labeled as “felons for life.” In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, a lawyer and legal scholar, examines the impact of the War on Drugs on the African-American community, including in terms of discrimination in employment, public housing, and education and denial of the right to vote. This book can be checked out from NCSC’s library.

The pre-arraignment process can be long and complicated. This month’s Trends in State Courts article shows how Michigan’s Shiawassee County is using information technology to simplify and speed up that process while ensuring fewer mistakes and reducing costs.
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