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Brush with... Billy Graham

One summer day in 1987, when I worked as a reporter in the Williamsburg bureau of the Daily Press, my editor assigned me to go to a group interview with Billy Graham, who was in town. The interview would be on a Saturday, and the newspaper needed me there because we didn’t have a religion reporter and because none of our more veteran reporters wanted to work on a Saturday. The truth is I didn’t either. I didn’t grow up in an evangelical household, so I didn’t understand that I should have wanted to meet the Rev. Graham.

That Saturday three reporters from other news organizations and I were ushered into a small room that included nothing but five wooden chairs. I discovered that the other reporters covered the religion beat. That took any pressure off me, I thought. I might just sit there and take notes. A minute or two later, Billy Graham entered the room, said hello and waited for the first question. I waited, too. And waited. And waited.

I like silence, but not when someone is supposed to be interviewed, so I asked a question. The Rev. Graham looked relieved to hear one, and he gave me an answer. After he spoke, there was more silence, and it became clear that the other reporters either hadn’t prepared questions or were too intimidated to ask them. As I noted, I didn’t fully understand that I was in the presence of greatness – no sarcasm intended – so I wasn’t intimidated. I kept asking questions, and he kept answering them, in what became a 30-minute, one-on-one interview.

As I walked out of that little room, I realized that I would never forget that interview -- and that Billy Graham couldn’t forget it fast enough.

Mark Di Vincenzo

Mary McQueen Award for Excellence & Leadership in Justice System Improvement

Sponsored by CCJ, COSCA, NAPCO and NACM, this award is presented biennially in recognition of an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to improving the administration of justice at the local, state and/or national level for a sustained period of time. Accomplishments worthy of recognition will transcend an individual state, community, or organization. Nominations due May 1. Read full details. 

NCSC in the news

Republicans are calling for the impeachment of Pennsylvania judges. It’s nothing new.

Using the Gavel to Gavel database maintained by the National Center for State Courts, I gathered data on all court-related bills introduced in the 50 U.S. states from 2008 through 2016. After reading each bill to determine whether it “curbed” the court in one way or another, I found more than 1,700 court-curbing bills in state legislatures in those nine years. Read the story from the Washington Post.

WV Intermediate Court of Appeals Waste of Taxpayer Money

Indeed, the National Center for State Courts says that West Virginia has long been in the bottom 25 percent of states when it comes to civil cases filed (based on population). Read the full story in The Legal Examiner.


News releases

Oregon Trial Court Administrator Jeff Hall honored with 2017 NCSC Distinguished Service Award

Jeff Hall, trial court administrator for the Deschutes County (Oregon) Circuit Court, is the recipient of the National Center for State Courts' 2017 Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards presented by the organization. Read the full press release.

State court leaders meet with Nevada Governor to focus on opioid crisis

State court leaders from across the county will gather at a national meeting in Henderson, Nevada on January 27. The National Judicial Opioid Task Force will hold a daylong meeting to gather information from those on the frontlines of the national opioid crisis.  Read the full press release.