@TheCenter from NCSC

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 12 | DECEMBER 2015

2015 survey shows public’s mixed feelings about courts

NCSC’s 2015 “State of the State Courts” finds that courts remain the most trusted branch of government, and Americans recognize their unique role in protecting individual rights.  But persistent concerns about customer service, inefficiency, and bias are undermining the public’s confidence in the courts and leading them to look for alternative means of resolving disputes.  Key findings from this year’s survey include support for the courts is stronger than in the heart of the recession, but shows signs of softening; concerns about inefficiency and unfairness are deep-seated and real; such concerns may be making the public enthusiastic about alternatives to traditional dispute resolution; and African-Americans express significantly less faith in the courts that the population as a whole.  The survey is based on telephone interviews with 1,000 registered voters nationwide.  The interviews were completed between October 26-29, 2015 by GBA Strategies.

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Webinar will examine judicial ethics

On Friday January 15, 2016, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. central time, the National Center for State Courts’ Center for Judicial Ethics is presenting a free webinar on the “Top Judicial Ethics Stories of 2015.” The webinar will review the 2015 cases and developments in judicial ethics and discipline that grabbed the headlines and illuminated current and recurring issues in judicial conduct, including Facebook and e-mail, campaign fund-raising, gay marriage, and appropriate sanctions. The speakers will be Colin Winchester, executive director, Utah Judicial Conduct Commission and Cynthia Gray, director, Center for Judicial Ethics. The webinar is free, but you must sign up ahead of time. Click on "More" to register.

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New book examines unique role of America’s state courts

A recently released book examines the powers U.S. state courts possess and the challenges they face in administering the bulk of the country’s justice system.  American Judicial Power: The State Court Perspective, was written by Michael Buenger, Ohio state court administrator and former NCSC of-counsel, and Paul De Muniz, former Oregon chief justice and Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Williamette University College of Law. The book provides an in-depth look at several topics specific to state courts, including a comparison of the role of state and federal courts, the history of America’s state courts, the judicial selection processes used in the states, the unique roles assigned to state courts and the varying structure of those courts, the relationship between state judicial power and state legislative power, and the challenges that are facing the state courts.

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Register for e-Courts 2016 before the end of 2015 for big savings

Registration for e-Courts 2016 is open, and if you register by December 31 you will receive the Best Bet pricing of $475—a discount greater than 30 percent over our regular on-site registration rate. Remember, e-Courts 2014 was so popular, we had to close registration early and turn away last-minute guests. So, we’ve increased our conference space by returning e-Courts to the Las Vegas Strip. e-Courts 2016 is being held at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. e-Courts 2016 also is bringing a new perspective to tech-y tools for the court staff and designing its education program for all levels of court professionals—administrators, technologists, judges, and information specialists. Don’t miss out. Register NOW!

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Warning: Your kids have the “right” to enter NCSC’s 2016 Civics Education Essay Contest

If you are looking for an assignment to keep your kids engaged over the holidays, ask them if they know what their Miranda Rights are and why they are important.  This question is the topic of NCSC’s 2016 Civics Education Essay Contest, which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Miranda warning. The national contest is open to 3rd through 12th graders. There will be three categories of winners:  3rd-6th grade; 7th- 9th grade; and 10th-12th grade. Entries should be 100 words or less and submitted online at ncsc.org/contest. Deadline is February 26, 2016.

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NCSC reading room

Cyberspace poses a number of challenges when it comes to international law, including cyberterrorism, intellectual property rights, and individual criminal responsibility. A new Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace brings together scholars from around the world to discuss the legal status of cyberspace, cyberwar, cybersecurity policies, and many other topics. The editors of this collection of essays were Nicholas Tsagourias, professor of international law, and Russell Buchan, senior lecturer in international law, University of Sheffield (United Kingdom). Contributors represent academies of higher learning in Australia, Italy, the United States, and other countries. This handbook is available from NCSC’s Library.
 
Deaf jurors are protected by the Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses the necessity of providing American Sign Language interpreters in courts.

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