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Courts must take the lead in helping society’s most vulnerable populations: juveniles and the elderly. Trends in State Courts 2014 will focus on juvenile justice and elder issues, as well as other topics important to our justice system.

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2013 Print Edition

Keynote Article
New York’s Pro Bono Requirement: The Whys and Hows of Building a Culture of Service in Future Lawyers
Hon. Jonathan Lippman

Poverty and Legal Problems: Examining Equal Access to Justice in Missouri
Anne Dannerbeck Janku
The economic downturn created new and expanded groups of people in poverty, namely, suburbanites, veterans, children, and single mothers, with problems regarding housing, employment, and family matters, which could have a legal resolution. This article presents a case study of how to use readily available information to identify access-to-justice issues.

Addressing Human Trafficking in the State Courts 
John A. Martin, Steven Weller, Angela Lederach, Jeffrey Yoder, and David Price
Establishing an appropriate state court role in addressing the numerous and complicated forms of modern human trafficking will be one of the most difficult challenges confronting state courts in the coming decade. Courts must determine their role in confronting the 21st century’s form of slavery.

Improving Child Protection Outcomes: A Framework for Judicial Leaders
Alicia Davis, Sophia Gatowski, Brian Ostrom, Hon. Michael G. Heavican, and Hon. Patricia Macias
Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is a framework for data-informed problem solving. This article explores how child protection courts can be high performing and continuously improving, leading to better outcomes for children.

Procedural Fairness, Swift and Certain Sanctions: Integrating the Domestic Violence Docket 
Hon. David Suntag
Applying “procedural fairness” to the justice system and “swift and certain sanctions” to the criminal justice system have been gaining increased attention. One innovative court in Vermont chose to apply both to an integrated domestic violence docket and had signifi- cant success, including a substantial reduction in recidivism.

The Need for Nimble Courts: How to Develop Flexible Strategic Networks, Not Rigid Strategic Plans
Gordon M. Griller
Some courts are short-circuiting lengthy strategic planning procedures by developing strategic networks to continually formulate and implement strategies through experiments and pilot projects that generate quick results, create buy-in by managers and staff, and actually change the organization. It’s an approach worth considering by more courts.

Practical Time Standards: Compliance Based on Business Processes
Tom Clarke and Taunya Jones
National time standards for disposing of cases in court are important. However, courts need to understand the business policies and processes required to achieve the time standards in their jurisdictions.

Oregon Courts Turn Crisis into Opportunity
David T. Moon
The economic downturn and state budget cuts have left the Oregon Circuit Courts with inadequate funding for essential services. This crisis creates an opportunity for court leaders to look closely at court processes and make systemic changes to reengineer the court business model to be more efficient and sustainable long-term.

Improving Alternative Dispute Resolution in New Mexico
Cynthia Savage and David Levin
New Mexico is working to maximize the benefits of ADR for both the courts and the public. This article discusses how the state’s court system has tackled the challenges presented by this goal.

Which Commercial Driving Cases Should Go To Court?
Victor E. Flango and F. Dale Kasparek, Jr.
Many states are examining their core missions to determine which types of cases must be heard according to state constitution or statute. This article suggests that cases involving holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) might best be heard first by departments of motor vehicles, with appeals to state courts.

Targeting Noncompliant Jurors: Findings from a Comprehensive Enforcement Program
Giuseppe M. Fazari
This article describes the findings of a com- prehensive enforcement program targeting noncompliant jurors in a large, urban county. Recommendations as to the feasibility of using enforcement hearings to compel compliance are provided, taking into account the program’s practical outcomes and the jury system’s over-
arching objectives.

Australia’s Civil Justice System: Developing a Multi-Option Response
Tania Sourdin and Naomi Burstyner
A multi-door court is the epicenter of dispute resolution referral and assessment, while multi-option system assumes that disputants will attempt to resolve disputes before filing court proceedings. Multi-option and multi-door processes work well if they are supported via mechanisms such as triaging, dispute counseling, and education and by stronger obligations in terms of participants to use them.

Courthouse Observations: Using Staff to Gauge Public Service Quality
Heather Nann Collins
While courts are not private entities, they must still provide excel- lent service to support the public’s trust. The Connecticut Judicial Branch, under its strategic plan, established a Courthouse Observation Team, which uniquely reviews the delivery of services by court staff to ensure uniformity and provide accountability to the public.

An Informed Opinion: Direct Opinion Review and Appellate JPE
Natalie Knowlton and Malia Reddick
The written opinion is the primary work product of appellate judges and justices and should, therefore, be the central focus of a performance evaluation program for the appellate bench. This article proposes one model for direct opinion review.

Reports are part of the National Center for State Courts' "Report on Trends in State Courts" and "Future Trends in State Courts" series.
Opinions herein are those of the authors, not necessarily of the National Center for State Courts.