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Monthly Trends Articles

Our Most Recent Release: 

September 2017 
Maintaining Court Operations When Disaster Strikes: Emergency Powers

William Raftery, Senior Knowledge and Information Services Analyst, National Center for State Courts

What happens when a courthouse is rendered unusable following a man-made or natural disaster? Many states have started to grant special powers to chief justices and court leadership to help courts meet these challenges.



August 2017 
What Judges Need to Know About the Neurobiology of Sexual Assault

Deborah Smith, Senior Knowledge and Information Services Analyst, National Center for State Courts

The human body reacts to sexual assault in often contradictory ways. Understanding the effect of trauma on the brain and body can help judges to understand the reactions of victims.



July 2017 
The Work of the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices

Hon. Maureen O' Hara, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio
Laurie K. Dudgeon Director, Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky

The purpose of the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices is to develop policies that promote the fair, efficient enforcement of the law; ensure no citizen is denied access to justice based on race or lack of economic resources; and promote fairness and transparency in handling legal financial obligations.



June 2017 
Local Experimentation and the Evolving Role of the Civil Judge

Jessica K. Steinberg, Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Director, Prisoner and Reentry Clinic, George Washington University Law School

Courts are being challenged by rising numbers of self-represented litigants, who are often not ready to present their cases. The District of Columbia’s Housing Conditions Court presents one possible model of what role judges can play to improve access to justice for such litigants.



May 2017 
Homeless Courts

Claudia Lopez, Knowledge and Information Services, National Center for State Courts

A homeless court is a problem-solving court for handling minor offenses. These courts emphasize the treatment and rehabilitation of homeless offenders.


 

April 2017
Secondary or Vicarious Trauma Among Judges and Court Personnel 

Deborah Wood Smith, Senior Knowledge and Information Services Analyst, National Center for State Courts 

Judges and other court staff may be at risk of suffering from secondary or vicarious trauma. There are strategies for building resilience that can help individuals deal with this issue.

 

March 2017
The Trouble with Eyewitness-Identification Testimony in Criminal Cases

Greg Hurley, Knowledge and Information Services Analyst, National Center for State Courts 

Research has found that eyewitness-identification testimony can be very unreliable. Law enforcement and the courts should follow the recommendations of social scientists when using and assessing eyewitness techniques, such as lineups, in criminal cases.


 

February 2017
Opioid Epidemic and the Courts

Michelle White, Principal Court Consultant, National Center for State Courts
Tara Kunkel, Principal Court Consultant, National Center for State Courts; Senior Fellow, Bureau of Justice Assistance

Opioid abuse has been steadily increasing in the United States. State courts must partner with other organizations to confront this epidemic.



January 2017
Courts Effectively Deliver Remote Self-Help Services

Stacey Marz, Director, Self-Help Services, Alaska State Court System

Many self-represented litigants are unable to go to the courthouse in person to conduct routine business. Many courts are now providing remote services, which benefit both litigants and court staff.


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.