@TheCenter from NCSC


CTC 2015 created innovation momentum for court leaders

 “When it comes to courts there are a lot of challenges with innovation,” said CTC 2015 keynote speaker Mark Britton, founder of legal services company Avvo. “But what we need more than anything is to start the conversation.” CTC 2015 did just that. More than 1,500 court leaders representing 49 states and 15 countries attended the Court Technology Conference held Sept. 22-24 in Minneapolis. Britton’s keynote set the tone for the two-and-half days of education sessions that ranged from electronic records to the judiciary in a virtual, mobile, and social world, to how IT can deliver solutions to create high-performing courts. Ohio Judge Gary Byers said CTC 2015 positioned him to be with court leaders facing the same challenges as his court. “This gave me the opportunity to interact with folks who are talking about the same issues that affect me … I’m learning about new technologies and how they affect my world in a meaningful way,” he said. Slides for all presentations, along with several recorded sessions, are available at www.ctc2015.org.


Webinar provides steps courts can take to improve guardianship practices

To help courts effectively handle the growing number of guardianship cases, NCSC’s Center for Elders and the Courts developed a webinar that outlines specific steps courts can take to improve services. Dr. Brenda Uekert, director of NCSC’s Center for the Elders and the Courts, co-hosted the webinar, “How to Protect Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable Adults Through Effective Guardianship Practices,” which focuses on three objectives: 1) to provide a general overview of the complexity and importance of guardianship cases; 2) to share practices that enhance court efficiencies and oversight, and 3) to provide action steps courts can take to improve guardianship practices.  The webinar— sponsored by the National Association for Court Management, based on its Adult Guardianship Guide—encouraged courts to improve data collection and move toward performance measures.  General pre-adjudication and post-adjudication processes were noted, with fundamental activities and innovative practices underscored at each stage. 


Nominations open for Sandra Day O’Connor Award

NCSC is currently accepting nominations for the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education. The award honors an organization, court, or individual (or individuals) who have promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education relating to the justice system.  Nominations are due October 23, 2015.


New report examines intermediate state appellate court cases

State appellate courts resolved more than 69,000 cases in 2010 according to “Criminal Appeals in State Courts,” a new report by NCSC’s Nicole Waters and Anne Gallegos, and Westat’s James Green and Martha Rozsi, published in a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Bulletin, September 2015. The data for this analysis came from BJS’s 2010 Survey of State Court Criminal Appeals. Other highlights include:

  • State appellate courts affirmed 81percent of cases reviewed on the merits and upheld the trial court decision in more than half of all appeals.
  • Courts of last resort reviewed about 2 percent of intermediate appellate court appeals.
  • The most common legal issue addressed in appeals was sufficiency of evidence (15 percent of the cases).
  • Appellate courts resolved all 50 percent of all appeals in 297 days.


Submit your ideas for Trends 2016

Submissions for NCSC’s Trends in State Courts 2016 are now being accepted. Trends is the only publication of its kind and enjoys a wide circulation among the state court community. It is distributed in hard copy and electronically. Please email abstracts of no more than 500 words by October 15, 2015 to Deborah Smith. Abstracts received after this date will be considered for our monthly online edition. Visit the Trends in State Courts website for more information.


NCSC reading room


Women, Judging and the Judiciary identifies obstacles and potential pathways for increasing gender diversity in the judiciary and examines the potential results of diverse viewpoints on judicial decision making. Erika Rackley, senior lecturer at the Law School, Durham University (UK), argues that having a clearer view of judges and what they do shows that women judges and judicial diversity actually enhance the judiciary. This book received the 2013 Birks Book Prize by the Society of Legal Scholars, and it is available from the NCSC Library.
Jury service scams threaten public trust and confidence in the judicial system. This month’s Trends in State Courts article shows how courts can better inform public about this sort of fraud.

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