January 9, 2017          

2016 Year in Review

American Judges Association (AJA)
The American Judges Association completed another successful year, which included the election of AJA’s first Canadian president: Russell Otter from the Ontario Court of Justice. Judge Otter became president at the outstanding annual educational conference in Toronto, which featured sessions focusing on “A Comparative Approach to Justice.” During AJA’s April midyear meeting in Santa Fe, the members looked at judges and the use of social media, an interactive overview of AJA’s online training modules on domestic violence, and a presentation by New Mexico Chief Justice Charles Daniels on pretrial reform.

Conference of Court Public Information Officers (CCPIO)
The focus of the year for the Conference of Court Public Information Officers was the 2016 annual meeting, held in Hartford, Connecticut. The members gathered for a number of informative sessions, including “Lessons Learned from the Sandy Hook Massacre: Dealing with the Media During a High Casualty Event”; “Transparency and Accountability in a Post 9-11 World: Why Courts Matter More Than Ever”; and “Co-Equality and Collaboration: Enhancing the Judiciary’s Legislative and Executive Branch Relations.”

Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA)
The Conference of State Court Administrators held a highly successful annual meeting with the Conference of Chief Justices this past summer, taking a look at the theme of “Domestic Relations: Courts as the Mechanism for Change.” During that conference, COSCA members discussed their 2016 policy paper, “The End of Debtors’ Prisons: Effective Court Policies for Successful Compliance with Legal Financial Obligations,” and adopted it in September. Several COSCA members also played key roles on the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices. COSCA recently completed its midyear meeting, to which their legal counsel were invited to share education sessions related to “Public Access While Protecting Personal Privacy: Policy Challenges for Court Technology.”

National College of Probate Judges (NCPJ)
The National College of Probate Judges held two meetings in 2016. At their spring conference, they discussed a variety of topics, including “Judges and Litigants Address Elder Abuse in Probate Courts: Trends and Reporting Obligations”; “Varying Levels of Capacity and the Doctor’s Evaluation”; and “Ethical Considerations Involving Trusts, Estates and Guardianships.” Taking advantage of the location of their fall conference in Charleston, South Carolina, the members heard about the ongoing complexities of the singer James Brown and about the probate issues related to the terrible massacre at Mother Emmanuel Church.

Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ)
The Conference of Chief Justices formed a Civil Justice Improvements Committee that completed a study of civil litigation in state courts focusing on cost and delay. This is the first significant comprehensive multijurisdictional study of civil caseloads since 1992 and is even more comprehensive in that it examines the entire civil caseload, rather than just cases filed in general-jurisdiction courts. The boards of CCJ and COSCA launched a national task force to review current practices, authorities, and operations related to the use of financial sanctions—fines, fees, and bail bonds. The task force will be issuing a report in 2017. CCJ held its midyear meeting in January in Monterey, California. The education program included sessions on reimagining the courts based on a book by Tom Clarke of the National Center for State Courts; an update on the Civil Justice Initiative; same-sex marriage; and a presentation by the president of the American Bar Association. The luncheon speakers were Leon E. Panetta, chairman of Panetta Institute for Public Policy and former Secretary of Defense, and Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court. The joint CCJ/COSCA annual meeting conference was held in July in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal (CCJSCA)
The Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal developed an online curriculum. The education modules provide interactive online resources to appellate judges with leadership responsibilities. In November, the Council held its annual conference in Cary, North Carolina. The theme of the conference was “Leading the Court of the Future.”

Topics and issues addressed at the conference included the multigenerational workplace and the impact and challenges that the millennial generation brings to court communications and technology; the ethical dilemma on how far judges can and should go in ascertaining facts by independent research; and how to balance the need to decide appeals quickly while generating confidence that cases are fully and fairly considered.

Receptions were held at the North Carolina State Bar Headquarters, North Carolina Art Museum, and the Pavilion at Angus Barn. Conference attendees participated in the Council’s “giving back” program. The Council selected Hope Charter Leadership Academy, a small, public inner-city charter school in Raleigh, as the recipient. Attendees brought a total of 123 books to North Carolina (coincidentally the exact number of books as students at the school).

National Association for Court Management (NACM)
The National Association for Court Management held two successful conferences in 2016—the midyear conference in Mobile, Alabama, and the annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In Mobile, attendees took part in workshops and keynotes on topics such as employee engagement, justice for the poor, and technology changes. Participants also attended a function at the Mobile Carnival Museum.

In Pittsburgh, keynotes and workshops explored how court managers can ensure they are providing a level of service that reflects quality, competency, and accountability. Social activities included a dance-filled evening at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

During the year, NACM produced two guides. Court Administration: A Guide to the Profession is an updated version of the popular Court Administrator mini-guide. The other 2016 guide is Creating a User-Friendly Court Structure and Environment.

NACM officers and board members attended several other association and task force meetings to share information and work on projects, including the inaugural meeting of the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers, held in Cleveland, Ohio; the National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices; the CCJ/COSCA Annual Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Measures for Justice (M4J) in Washington, D.C.; the International Association for Court Administration in The Hague; the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management in Ocean City, Maryland; the National Association of State Judicial Administrators in Burlington, Vermont; and the American Judges Association in Toronto.

Other partnerships were formed and nurtured with the Justice Innovation Center, the State Justice Institute, the Joint Technology Committee, the Right to Counsel, and other groups.

NACM will hold a joint conference with International Association for Court Administration (IACA) July 9-13, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia—right outside of Washington, D.C. The social event for the conference will be held at the Library of Congress. Registration will open in late March.

NACM also welcomed a new association manager, Janet Reid, in November 2016.

National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC)
One of the Conference’s most important events is the annual educational conference. The Docket, an educational newsletter for members, is published quarterly. The activities of the various committees are ongoing throughout the year. Executive Committee meetings are held twice yearly in locations around the country. NCACC held its 43rd Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado July 31–August 5.

National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO)
NAPCO held its first annual conference from September 25-28, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference was a collaborative partnership between NAPCO and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and was developed as an inaugural conference of presiding judges and court executives from across the country to discuss challenges faced by state and local trial court leaders, to propose solutions, to hear about best practices, and to enhance collaboration among trial court leaders. The academy and conference was open to the top leader-judges and court executives in any state or local trial court regardless of size or jurisdiction.

National Association of State Judicial Educators (NASJE)
The National Association of State Judicial Educators held its annual conference, “Changing Perspectives in Judicial Branch Education: Re-Engage, Rethink, Renew,” on September 25-28, in Burlington, Vermont. During the conference, they presented the Karen Thorson Award to Jim Drennan of North Carolina. Through his service at the University of North Carolina School of Government and his extensive participation in NASJE, Drennan has made an indelible impression on the court community.

National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ)
One hundred brave and intrepid women judges met and formed the National Association of Women Judges in 1979. NAWJ was led by two founding visionaries, Justice Joan Dempsey Klein and Justice Vaino Spencer. In 2016 one of the founding members of NAWJ, the Honorable Vaino Spencer, passed away.

Over 300 judges, attorneys, government officials, academics, and legal experts convened for NAWJ's 38th Annual Conference, “Faces of Justice,” in Seattle, October 5-9, 2016. NAWJ's annual conference explored emerging and challenging topics affecting judges and the judiciary.

National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts (NCREFC)
The Conference of Chief Justices, the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, and the National Center for State Courts, in partnership with and support from the State Justice Institute, embarked upon a national initiative: “Community Engagement in the State Courts.” The initiative aims to improve the trust and confidence that marginalized and disenfranchised communities have in state courts. To that end, in cooperation with PBS broadcaster Tavis Smiley, three installments of Courting Justice, a national “listening tour” were produced. The recordings took place in Los Angeles, California; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Cleveland, Ohio. The tour aimed to connect judges with the communities they serve to provide those community members an opportunity to discuss the issues that erode trust in our judicial system.

The Consortium held its annual meeting in May in Williamsburg, Virginia. The conference theme was “Courts Engaging Communities: Building Trust and Increasing Confidence.” Among other topics, the conference addressed school-to-prison pipelines and court fees and fines and the minority impact. The conference held a town-hall meeting that was livestreamed and allowed local community members to ask questions of a panel composed of judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and professors.

e-Courts 2016
Over 900 exhibitors and participants attended the sold-out e-Courts conference, December 10-12, 2016 at its new location: The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. The sessions were full, and the exhibit hall was buzzing. We hope that everyone enjoyed their time in Las Vegas, and we hope everyone will attend next year’s CTC 2017 in Salt Lake City. Registration is now open!

What's Happening

January 12-15, 2017 American Judges Association
Executive Committee Meeting
South Carolina
January 26-February 2, 2017 Conference of Chief Justices
Midyear Meeting
February 5-7, 2017 National Association for Court Management
Midyear Conference
March 15-17, 2017 CCJ/COSCA
Midwest Regional Meeting
St. Louis,
March 23-26, 2017 Conference of State Court Adminstrators
Spring Board Meeting
San Francisco,

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