Council for Court Excellence
The Council for Court Excellence (CCE) has been selected as the recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) 2017 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation. The Munsterman Award recognizes states, local courts, organizations or individuals that have made significant improvements or innovations in jury procedures, operations and practices. The award is named for the founder and former director of NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies and an internationally renowned innovator in jury systems and research.
CCE was established in 1982 and their work on jury system improvements spans the organization’s 35 years, beginning with advocacy for one-day-or-one-trial jury service in D.C. Superior Court, which was adopted in 1986. In 1990, CCE organized the first Jury Service Appreciation program with the local and federal courts in the District of Columbia. In 1995, CCE established the D.C. Jury Project and within a few years, published Juries for the Year 2000 and Beyond: Proposals to Improve the Jury System in Washington, D.C. The publication had 32 specific recommendations that were transformative to the jury system in D.C. and a driver of change for courts around the country. In 2015, they published Jury Service Revisited: Upgrades for the 21st Century, a comprehensive study of the jury system in D.C.’s local and federal courts that proposes several reforms to strengthen the institution of the jury. These reforms are currently being implemented in D.C. CCE has also done a significant amount of other work to improve jury service.
“For more than three decades CCE has been a leader in the development and implementation of jury system innovations that have helped the courts in D.C have some of the best jury systems in the country,” says Paula Hannaford-Agor, Director of NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies. “Although their work has primarily been confined to the jury system in a small geographical area, the impact of their work has been influential nationally and abroad as other jurisdictions have been influenced by their successes to incorporate jury innovations into their own systems.”