@TheCenter from NCSC


Don’t miss CTC 2015’s opening-day registration deal

The Court Technology Conference (CTC) 2015 will take place September 22–24 in Minneapolis, and its education program and exhibit hall will attract judges, court administrators, court technologists, court managers, and other justice-system professionals from across the country and across the world.  CTC 2015 online registration opens Monday, April 13 and for that one day only registration is steeply discounted to $600!   The CTC 2015 education program will focus on six tracks: e-Bench and Judicial Tools; Electronic Court Records Management; the Management of Court IT; the Judiciary in a Virtual, Mobile and Social World; Access to Justice; and the Courthouse of the Future. Go to ctc2015.org on April 13 to get our best deal on CTC registration.  No special code is required, but this is a one-day sale, so mark your calendar!


NCSC relaunches Center for Judicial Ethics clearinghouse

In October 2014, the National Center for State Courts took over the Center for Judicial Ethics (CJE), a national clearinghouse for information on judicial ethics and discipline, following the dissolution of the American Judicature Society. The CJE has now reestablished its website at ncsc.org/cje. The site has information on many judicial ethics topics, such as social media and judicial ethics and judicial disqualification based on campaign contributions. The site features links to other resources, including a weekly blog and the websites of state judicial conduct commissions and judicial ethics advisory committees. The quarterly Judicial Conduct Reporter is available on the CJE site as are other publications, such as An Ethics Guide for Judges and Their Families and the Key Issues in Judicial Ethics Series.  The CJE provides additional information services, such as weekly updates and bimonthly case and advisory opinion summaries to judicial conduct commissions and other state agencies that are members of the CJE.  Finally, planning is underway for the 24th National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics, which will be held October 28-30, 2015, in Chicago.  


JTC paper tackles electronic records management


The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) has released a new resource bulletin, “Developing an Electronic Records Preservation and Disposition Plan,” which answers a series of questions many court administrators face in the advent of the digital records era. Key questions include: Should such record be destroyed automatically? What is the best way to delete court case data? How long do records need to be maintained for research purposes and are records maintained beyond the standard retention period subject to public disclosure?  The new bulletin aims to assist court leaders in developing a robust electronic court records retention and destruction policy for their courts.  JTC includes representatives from the Conference of State Court Administrators, National Association for Court Management, and National Center for State Courts.


New online course educates judges about underage drinking

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol  Responsibility are offering the Effective Judicial Interventions for Underage Drinking Offenders course. Developed by NCSC and Responsibility.org in consultation with a national panel of experts, this cutting-edge, online course is designed to educate judges about underage drinking such that they can make informed decisions in the courtroom. The course provides judges with information about how to make accurate assessments, appropriate sentencing decisions, and tailored treatment plans for underage drinkers whether they are one-time offenders or more serious, habitual underage alcohol abusers. The program also encourages judges to consider an underage alcohol offense as a potential turning point for the juveniles that come into their courtroom and highlights the necessity of a collaborative approach in the adjudication of each individual offender. Completion of Effective Judicial Interventions for Underage Drinking Offenders will prepare judges and other criminal justice practitioners to make informed decisions when dealing with this subset of offenders and will foster leadership on this issue.


Courts are not revenue generators

Court fines and fees have been in the media spotlight after the recent release of the U.S. Department of Justice report on its investigation into law enforcement in the City of Ferguson, Missouri. The report’s findings concluded that the city’s “law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than public safety need”—and notes that the practice extended into the city’s court system. These practices are in direct conflict with the position of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), which has long maintained the position that court functions should be funded from the general operating fund of the states in order that the judiciary can fulfill its obligation of upholding the Constitution and protecting the individual rights of all citizens by providing access to justice for all. After the report’s release, the National Center for State Courts issued a “Backgrounder” to provide perspective on CCJ’s and the Conference of State Court Administrators’ (COSCA) position on court funds. COSCA outlines a series of principles that support this position in a white paper titled “Court Are Not Revenue Centers.”


NCSC reading room


Judicial elections are not exempt from today’s negative election politics. In Attacking Judges: How Campaign Advertising Influences State Supreme Court Elections (2015), Melinda Gann Hall, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University, examines how attack campaigns influence support for judicial candidates and impact participation in the election process. Through her research, Hall challenges traditional and often anecdotal views on the selection process and encourages further empirical exploration in this area. This book can be checked out from the NCSC Library.

Courts are under increasing pressure to provide broader interpreter services. March’s online Trends in State Courts article discusses one strategy for meeting this demand: video remote interpretation.

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