March 31, 2016          

Meet CCJ President South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson


Chief Justice David Gilbertson was elected to a four-year term as chief justice by the members of the South Dakota Supreme Court in 2001. He has been re-elected three times and is currently serving his fourth term as chief justice. He started his term as president of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) in July 2015, and his term will continue through the CCJ annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, July 23-27, 2016.

CCJ was founded in 1949 to provide an opportunity for the highest judicial officers of the states to meet and discuss matters of importance in improving the administration of justice, rules and methods of procedure, and the organization and operation of state courts and judicial systems, and to make recommendations and bring about improvements on such matters. Through resolutions, committees, and special task forces, CCJ has addressed such issues as federalism legislation, violence against women, development of problem-solving courts, the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, victims' rights, and competence of counsel.

During Chief Justice Gilbertson’s term as CCJ president, CCJ’s Civil Justice Improvements Committee completed a study of civil litigation in state courts focusing on cost and delay. This past November, the boards of CCJ and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) voted unanimously to launch a national task force to review current practices, authorities, and operations related to the use of financial sanctions—fines, fees, and bail bonds.  Finally, the Conference of Chief Justices, the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), in partnership with and support from the State Justice Institute, have embarked upon a national initiative, Community Engagement in the State Courts, to build an engagement strategy aimed at general engagement and bridging the gap between communities of color and the courts. 

Since 2010, Chief Justice Gilbertson has served as the state court representative of the Criminal Rules Committee of the United States Courts. In 2006 he was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from NCSC for his defense of judicial independence. This was in recognition of his leadership against the threat posed by “JAIL for Judges,” a proposed constitutional amendment in South Dakota.  He was the recipient of the “Grass Roots” Award by the American Bar Association in 2014 for his creation of a program to financially encourage attorneys to locate in under-served rural areas of South Dakota. He is past president of the South Dakota Judges Association. He also serves on the Judicial-Bar Liaison Committee of the State Bar Association and has served as a court counselor at South Dakota Boys State since 1995.

Notably, during his terms as Chief Justice of South Dakota, the state has instituted a “fast track” litigation system for claims under $75,000, which limits discovery and expedites trial dates. Additionally, in response to the growing need for lawyers in rural areas, his home state passed a law that will refund legal education costs to lawyers who agree to practice in a rural area for five years.

Chief Justice Gilbertson received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Dakota School of Law.  He is married to Deborah Gilbertson and has four children.

Tip Talk

6 Reasons You Should Talk Less and Listen More

How often do you find yourself talking on an average day instead of listening? When is the last time you really listened to someone speaking instead of planning your response? In most conversations, the person who speaks most benefits the least and the person who speaks least benefits the most.

1.    Knowledge is Power.
We live in an information-driven world. The more information you possess makes a difference to your long-term success. More often the person who is speaking gives away more information than they intended. The person who’s listening is benefitting from the information received.

2.    You won’t state anything you’ll regret later.
Once you share information it cannot be taken back. We often speak too quickly without fully thinking of the consequences. We may need to wait to voice the information at a later date.

3.    You won’t say anything unintelligent.
Speaking too quickly can, and frequently does, lead to speaking thoughtlessly with insufficient information or wrong assumptions. These statements can make you sound less intelligent and argumentative.

4.    You won’t use up your material.
We have a limited supply of interesting anecdotes, experiences, and words of wisdom. Inevitably, we end up using the same ones over again. Stories have the most impact when they are being heard for the first time. When holding yours for the right moment, you give them the most power.

5.    The person who’s doing the talking will feel understood and cared about.
Listening is a powerful tool with relationship-building in all aspects of life. By listening it shows that you are fully engaged in the conversation, you have respect for the person you are listening to and care about what they have to say.

6.    When you do speak, people will listen.
More often we listen to the person who rarely speaks opposed to the person who always has too much to say. By spending more time listening than speaking, when you do voice your thoughts/opinions, others will listen more closely to what you have to say.

NACM Midyear Conference Workshop Videos are Now Available

Keynotes and workshops recorded at the recent National Association for Court Management (NACM) Midyear Conference are now available to watch online or download from the website.

Included are high-impact sessions such as:

There is no cost to watch or download these videos and you are encouraged to share them with your colleagues.

Thanks to the State Justice Institute for awarding a grant to make the recording and livestreaming of these sessions possible.


The International Association of Women Judges 13th Biennial Conference
Hosted By The National Association of Women Judges

The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) announced it will host the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) 13th Biennial Conference in Washington, DC, May 26-29, 2016, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  Registration of more than 700 judges from around the world for the 2016 Biennial Conference is anticipated. This conference celebrates the 25th Anniversary of IAWJ. The conference theme is “Women Judges and the Rule of Law: Assessing the Past, Anticipating the Future.”

For further information:



The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts is committed to encouraging the highest courts of each state to create commissions to examine the treatment accorded minorities in their courts; sharing the collective knowledge of task forces and commissions with courts, law enforcement, and the community; and providing technical assistance and expertise to commissions, task forces, and other interested organizations and individuals on the subject of racial and ethnic fairness.

This year, the National Consortium’s 28th annual conference will be held at the beautiful Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 25-27, 2016.  The theme for this year’s conference is “Courts Engagement Communities: Building Trust and Increasing Confidence.”  Topics will include:

  • EEOC and Law Enforcement
  • Overcoming Anti-Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian Bias in the Courts
  • The Minority Engagement Project
  • Jury Selection & Implicit Bias on Petit and Grand Juries
  • School to Prison Pipeline

One of the highlights of the conference will be a town hall meeting on the topic of “Community Engagement – Minority Impact/Building Trust.”  The town hall meeting is open to the public, and the public is strongly encouraged to attend and participate. 

For more information about the conference visit the consortium website. 


National Task Force on Fine, Fees and Bail Practices

The nation’s two national state court leadership associations have formed a National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices to address the ongoing impact that court fines and fees and bail practices have on communities – especially the economically disadvantaged – across the United States. The Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) — the association of the top judicial leaders from the 50 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. territories — and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) — the association of court executives that oversees judicial administration in the state courts — are leading this effort.

The task force is comprised of national judicial and legal leaders; legal advocates; policy makers from state, county, and municipal government; academics; and the public interest community. It is co-chaired by Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Kentucky State Court Administrator Laurie K. Dudgeon. The task force is working with the support and commitment of the State Justice Institute (SJI) and is coordinating with key stakeholders, including the Department of Justice. Several CCJ and COSCA members attended a two-day, DOJ-led White House hearing in December that outlined the severity of this issue and the critical need to find solutions.

The task force co-chairs have formed three working groups:

  • Access to Justice and Fairness
  • Transparency, Governance & Structural Reform
  • Accountability, Judicial Performance and Qualifications, and Oversight

CCJ and COSCA have long taken the position that court functions should be funded from the general operating fund of state and local governments to ensure that the judiciary can fulfill its obligation of upholding the Constitution and protecting the individual rights of all citizens. In 1986, CCJ and COSCA adopted Standards Relating to Courts Costs.  Subsequently, in 2012, CCJ and COSCA adopted a position paper titled Courts are Not Revenue Centers and the “Principles of Judicial Administration” developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).


What's Happening?


Apr. 18-22 American Judges Association
Midyear Meeting
Santa Fe,
New Mexico
Apr. 21-23    Council of Chief Judges of the State of Court of Appeals
Executive Committee Meeting
Las Vegas,
Apr. 28 National Center for State Courts
Board Meeting
May 11-13 Conference of State Court Administrators
Western Regional
Santa Fe,
New Mexico
May 16-19    National College of Probate Judges
Spring Conference
Point Clear,
May 21-26    Council of Language Access Coordinators Conference New Orleans,
May 26-29    International Association of Women Judges 13th Biennial Conference Washington, DC
May 26-29 National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts Williamsburg,

December 12-14: e-Courts 2016 will take place at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. This will be the first NCSC conference that will feature a brand new app! The app will allow attendees to access materials, schedules, exhibit hall vendor locations and connect with their peers! The education is going to feature the winning teams from the CourtHack and many other technology forward thinkers. So between the new venue, new technology, a packed exhibit hall, e-Gnite sessions, and ways to connect with your peers, this WILL be the place to be in December. Registration is open and rates increase July 1, so don’t delay. Be a part of the NEW e-Courts 2016 and share the knowledge.