December 22, 2015          

Meet COSCA President Patricia W. Griffin, State Court Administrator, Delaware


Judge Patricia Griffin has served as state court administrator in Delaware since 2005, following 11 years as chief magistrate of Delaware’s entry level court, the Justice of the Peace Court.  She began her term as president of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), and vice chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors, in July 2015. Both positions are one-year terms. Pat is the first Delawarean to lead COSCA. 

COSCA is comprised of the chief executives of the court systems in each state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. The conference is committed to strengthening the judicial branch by improving the quality of state courts and increasing the public’s trust and confidence in the justice system. COSCA works closely with the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), which is made up of the top judicial official from each state and territory.  Pat appreciates the knowledge and benefits that she – and Delaware – have gained through her involvement with COSCA, and is awed by the important leadership role that COSCA and CCJ play in promoting the interests and effectiveness of state judicial systems and in developing policies and educational programs designed to improve court operations.

Pat has been active in the language access area nationally for close to 20 years – first by serving in leadership positions in the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification from 1997 through 2005, and then by co-authoring COSCA’s position paper entitled “Court Interpretation:  Fundamental to Access to Justice” in 2007.  In addition, Pat has served as co-chair of the Access, Fairness, and Public Trust Joint Committee of CCJ and COSCA, and as chair of COSCA’s Language Access Advisory Committee.  Pat received the National Center for State Courts’ Distinguished Service Award related to her language access efforts, and the Mission Award from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts in 2011.  As chief magistrate, Pat established a statewide truancy court in Delaware and was named Person of the Year by the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention in 2004.

Pat received her juris doctorate from Washington and Lee University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.  Pat and her husband Jim enjoy spending time with their grandson and riding horses.

Tip Talk

As the holidays are ending and the new year is beginning, it might be worth giving yourself a refresher regarding airports and air travel.

Carry your passport. Some U.S. flights could be diverted to Mexico or Canada, and it will make it a lot easier to go through customs if you have your passport.

Carry on rules MUST BE followed. Two items per person. The airlines will force you to check a bag if you don’t follow these rules. Be aware of how you’ve packed if you are carrying on a bag.

Don’t print your boarding pass. Use a mobile app when possible. If you should lose or misplace the printed boarding pass, consider all the personal information that is on there. Now, someone else has it.

Put your luggage in the overhead bin across the aisle from you so that you can see that no one is opening your luggage during the flight.

When putting your carry-on bag through the x-ray belt, put your laptop last so that it comes out behind your other luggage, and with luck, about the same time you are cleared to pick it up.

-  It is always a good idea to list your blood type on your passport and to make photocopies of your passport and visa.

Stow passports and visas independently of your originals (carry two extra passport photos in case your passport is lost or stolen).

In the News

Florida Judge William D. Palmer Named President of National Judicial Organization

Judge William D. Palmer of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been elected president of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal (CCJSCA), a national association dedicated to improving the administration of justice in state appellate courts. He will serve a one-year term, which became effective during the conference’s 36th annual meeting in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in October.

William D. Palmer was appointed to the court by Governor Jeb Bush in 2000 after 24 years in private practice, primarily in the areas of civil litigation, family law, appellate law, adoption law, arbitration, and mediation. He has served as chair of the Florida Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policies Committee, the Florida Bar’s Appellate Certification Committee and Judicial Nomination Procedures Commission, the Ninth Circuit Grievance Committee, and the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. He has also served as secretary-treasurer, vice-president, and president-elect of the CCJSCA. He has written and lectured extensively in the areas of judicial selection, appellate law, family law, and litigation.  He was a certified arbitrator, civil mediator, and family mediator and has written, spoken, and trained in those areas.

Judge Palmer received a bachelor’s degree in Management Science (with honors) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1973 and received his juris doctorate (cum laude) in 1976 from Boston College Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Environmental Affairs Law Review. He is married to attorney Nancy S. Palmer and has five children.

Established in 1980, CCJSCA works to improve the administration of justice and the operation of the state intermediate appellate courts. The council's mission is carried out through the participation of intermediate appellate court leaders, including past, current, and future chief judges. The council provides these court leaders the opportunity to share ideas about different ways to solve common problems, learn about effective programs instituted in other intermediate appellate courts, and examine ways to promote efficiency and fiscal responsibility in our own courts.


CCJ Midyear Highlights

The Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) Midyear will take place in Monterey, California, January 30-February 3, 2016. Here are a few of the subjects that will be discussed during the meeting.

  • Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will be the Farewell Luncheon Speaker.
  • Leon E. Panetta, Chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy (California State University, Monterey Bay) and Former Secretary of Defense, will be speaking on the topic Governing by Leadership or Crisis.
  • Thomas Clarke, NCSC Vice President for Research and Technology, will make a presentation based on the “Reimaging Courts” book that he and Victor Flango recently authored.  The authors argue that state courts have evolved to handle disputes that once were resolved either informally in the family or within the community, which strains government agency resources.  Clarke will offer provocative suggestions for a thorough overhaul of state and local courts based on a triage approach using case characteristics, litigant goals, and resolution processes.
  • A program will be presented on the findings and recommendations of the Civil Justice Improvements Committee regarding access to justice in civil matters, public trust and confidence in the courts, and the constitutional roles of the courts.



Adapting to a Changing Court Environment

The National Association for Court Management (NACM) will hold its 2016 Midyear Conference on the Gulf Coast, February 14-16. With the theme “Extending Out From the Core: The Profession In Practice,” conference workshops will encourage attendees to learn more about the NACM Core – competencies that will help you adapt to a changing court environment. The agenda includes topics like Improving  Business Practices, Court Governance and Leadership, Case Management Systems Transitions, and Employee Engagement. There will be three outstanding keynote speakers this year as well:

Sam Brooke of the Southern Poverty Law Center will kick off the conference with a thoughtful keynote titled Justice For the Poor: Ensuring A Fair Judicial Process For All.

Dr. Linda Talley will provide insights on perception with Perception Is All There Is: How To Use Six Powerful (and Subtle) Non-verbal Behaviors To Influence and Persuade.

Pretrial Justice Reforms: A National Perspective will be presented by Tim Murray, director emeritus of the Pretrial Justice Institute.

There will also be shared interest groups, a social event at Mobile’s Carnival Museum, and an Exhibit Show. Registration is online and special group rates are available through The conference will be held at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel, Mobile, Ala.



IOJT Holds Meeting in Brazil

The 7th International Conference on the Training of the Judiciary (IOJT) wrapped up recently near Recife, Brazil.  Several National Center for State Courts (NCSC) staff members participated in the four-day meeting that included judges, judicial educators, and court staff from judiciaries across six continents.  Conference sessions were presented in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, and tackled topics such as funding for judicial branch education and the development of guiding principles.  NCSC President Mary McQueen (pictured right), who serves as secretary general of the IOJT, spoke on the value of networking and hosted the closing plenary session that drew together conference themes.  Over the course of the conference, participants attended courses on the intersections between judicial education and leadership, technology, professional skills development, and more.  Prior IOJT conferences were held in Washington (2013), Bordeaux (2011), Sydney (2009), Madrid (2007), Ottawa (2005), and Jerusalem (2002).


What's Happening?

Join the National Center for State Courts in its newest initiative, CourtHack to be held March 4-5, 2016 at the Matheson Courthouse, 450 State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. NCSC is partnering with HackerNest to host its first Hackathon. Hackathons have become the de facto mechanism for innovative product/service businesses to emerge – the most practical, meritocratic, and efficient way of vetting new ideas into implementation. CourtHack will serve as a symbol to help shape public perception (as one of the first-ever court-related hackathons) of how the justice and legal community intend to work with the technology community. For more information, visit the CourtHack website.


Jan. 30-Feb. 3 Conference of Chief Justices
Midyear Meeting
Feb. 11-14 American Judges Association
Executive Committee Meeting
Feb. 14-16 National Association for Court Management
Midyear Conference

Association Services wishes you a very happy holiday and safe New Year!

Pictured in back from left to right: Denise Bridges, Lorie Gomez, Jesse Rutledge, Jennifer Haire, and Valerie Gardner. In front: Stacey Smith, Nikiesha Cosby, Tiffany Mitchell, Kathleen Mosely.
Not pictured: Barry Forrest, Shelley Rockwell and Brenda Williams



Have questions? Need additional information? Have something you want to share? Contact Jennifer Haire, Director of Association and Conference Services, at or 757.259.1806.