NCSC in the news

 
Pay for court-appointed lawyers remains stagnant

The National Center for State Courts completed a state-by-state court comparison in 2013 that showed North Carolina had decreased court funding 1 to 4 percent in the past couple of years while a majority of other state budgets remained the same or increased. Read the full story from the Smoky Mountain News.

 
3 trial court judges discuss the some of the hardest cases of their career

Gregory E. Mize is a a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and is a judicial fellow at the National Center for State Courts and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in Washington, D.C. Read the full story from ABA Journal.

 
Ethnic, linguistic diversity drive need for interpreters, translators

When a court in Pennsylvania needs an interpreter for a less commonly spoken language, Aviles puts out a request on a listserv available through the National Center for State Courts, which has a database of interpreters nationwide. Read the full story from LVD.com.

 
NYC Bar To Lawmakers: End Criminal Court Fees

These fees are viewed as essential sources of revenue nationwide, and every state except Alaska and North Dakota has hiked up its court fees in the past eight years. Increased reliance on such fees stems from the Great Recession, according to Bill Raftery, a senior analyst for the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Law 360.

 
How State Courts Are Fighting Our National Opioid Epidemic

In August 2017, the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators established the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, or NJOTF, as part of the National Center for State Courts. The goal of the task force is to examine and develop responses to the opioid epidemic at the state court level. Read the full story from Law 360.

 
County starts removal of courthouse trees

Lisa Tremblay, Skagit County Superior Court administrator, said the county Superior Court judges requested removal of the trees to comply with safety standards from the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from GoSkagit.com.

 
New Mexico judiciary wants constitutional amendment

The salaries of District Court judges also hurt recruitment, Nakamura said, especially among attorneys in private practice. In New Mexico, district judges make a little less than $120,000 a year, low enough to rank 50th out of 51 jurisdictions — 50 states and Washington, D.C. — even after adjusting for the cost of living, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Las Cruces Sun News.

 
Commission, sheriff, judges at odds over courthouse staffing

A staffing study, Cole said, was done according to standards set by the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit organization out of Williamsburg, Virginia, that functions as a think-tank and a consulting firm for court systems. Read the full story from CCHeadliner.com.

 
'I really wanted to get adopted': These 15 kids found their forever home in North Jersey

A pilot program, composed of 110 advocates, was formed. By 1982, it was recognized by the National Center for State Courts, and it was a model for similar programs in other jurisdictions across the country. Read the full story from NorthJersey.com.

 
Yellowstone County expects to save time, space and money with new e-filing system

E-filing in state courts began in earnest in 2011, according to Bill Raftery, senior analyst with the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Sidney Herald.

 
Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?: eDiscovery Best Practices, Part Two

But a more recent (2017) State of State Courts report by the National Center for State Courts found that 71% of respondents had overall confidence in their court system. Read the full story from JD Supra.

 
Meet CORA

Company owner Paul McManus said he was contacted by Ottawa County Circuit Court Administrator Kevin Bowling, who is on the board of the National Center for State Courts, based in Virginia. Read the full story from the Grand Haven Tribune.

 
Specialty courts provide treatment and services instead of jail time

The number of problem-solving courts in Ohio and across the country has soared since their inception in Florida 30 years ago, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Soapbox.

 
Ballot language for Measure L didn't mention its most eye-popping outcome — doubling the pay of San Diego mayor, council

According to the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit that collects and publishes data from state courts nationwide, San Diego County judges’ salaries have increased by about 2.3 percent a year since 2003. Read the full story from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

 
Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima calls for capacity building in the judiciary

The Chief Justice says Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to prepare a prototype of case management to see areas of improvement in the judicial system in Zambia. Read the full story from Lusakatimes.com.

 
Trials and tribulations

Bill Raftery, senior analyst for the National Center for State Courts, which collects data from courts nationwide, said a downward trend in trials is nationwide and began at least a decade ago. “We were looking, even before the Great Recession, at disappearing trials,” Raftery said. “There are two things that are at play here. There are fewer and fewer people coming into the court system to begin with. Fewer people coming in means fewer trials.” Read the full story from the Illinois Times.

 
The Modernization Our Civil Legal System Needs

These promising strategies are still in their infancy. It remains unclear what impact they can have or how government can apply this technology effectively. The Pew Charitable Trusts has launched an initiative to explore and evaluate these technologies. Our goal, in partnership with technology companies, state court officials and organizations including the National Center for State Courts, Legal Services Corp. and the American Bar Association, is to modernize key aspects of the nation's civil legal system and make it more accessible to the public. Read the full story from Governing.

 
Tunheim leads Minjares in Thurston County prosecutor race

A 2017 report by the National Center for State Courts faulted Thurston County Superior Court for “troublesome delays, system inefficiencies, and productivity problems,” and Minjares has called those delays a waste of taxpayer dollars that punish defendants and their families. Read the full story from the Olympian.

 
30 Must-Read State and Local IT Blogs 2018

Given the emphasis on smart cities and even smart states, courts are an often overlooked element of the state and local government landscape. However, they are an essential ingredient to civic life and the rule of law, and they shape how citizens interact with government. A blog of the National Center for State Courts, Court Technology Bulletin provides a timely chronicle of how technology is reshaping the court system, including the use of videoconferencing tools for pretrial services and smartphones that can be used as document scanners for e-filing. Read the full story from StateTech.

 
Just put me on the jury, coach

Still, the vast majority of both civil and criminal cases never go to trial, so despite all the bad rap that serving jury duty gets, the chances of actually being on one are actually pretty small. Specific numbers are hard to come by — as FiveThirtyEight noted in 2015, there are more than 3,000 counties or parishes in the nation, and many of those have their own courts — but the National Center for State Courts estimated in 2007 that fewer than 5 percent of American adults summoned to jury duty each year actually end up on one. Read the full story from nola.com.

 
Costa Rica’s Judicial Branch Begins Project to Strengthen Anti-corruption Efforts

U.S. NGO National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is responsible for the execution of this two-year project that represents a total investment of USD 720,000. SOURCE: US Embassy Press Release. Read the full story from the Costa Rica Star.

 
Thinned ranks of court officers leave courtrooms vulnerable

Violence is on the rise in courthouses across the country. A 2013 report from the National Center for State Courts found violent incidents in state courts rose from 10 in 2005 to 67 in 2011. Read the full story from the Times Union.

 
Coalition Presents More Than 30 Ideas For Curbing Evictions in VA

The draft calls on state leaders to pump more money into affordable housing, raise the minimum wage and provide more tenants legal help in housing court. Karl Doss with the Virginia Bar Association recalled a recent study by the National Center for State Courts that showed tenants who don’t have a lawyer lose their eviction cases at twice the rate of tenants who are represented. Read the full story from npr.

 
Nuss: Court employees are underpaid

While the Legislature has made some progress in this area, raising court employee pay 5 percent over the last two years, a study by the National Center for State Courts showed that Kansas is still 15 percent below market level. Read the full story from the Mercury.

 
A win by two or more challengers would give women first-ever majority on NM Court of Appeals

Indeed, women hold a 3-2 majority on the New Mexico Supreme Court — one of eight states with female majorities on the highest courts, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full report from New Mexico In Depth.

 
More N.C. political battles are ending up in court. Here's why that's happening.

In the last few years, lawmakers shrunk the state court of appeals, put party labels on judicial races, eliminated public financing for court elections and have done away with this year’s judicial primaries. They also redrew the districts in which some judges serve. An analyst with the National Center for State Courts told the (Charlotte) Observer in January that nowhere in America were so many changes coming to courts in such a relatively short time. Read the full story from the News & Record.

 
Ann Arbor judge receiving national judicial award presented at SCOTUS

Washtenaw County 15th District Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines was named as recipient of the 2018 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, one of the highest judicial honors in the country, according to a statement from the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Michigan Live.

 
Can licensed legal paraprofessionals narrow the access-to-justice gap?

It is too soon to judge definitively the effectiveness and sustainability of the licensed legal paraprofessional structure. However, cautionary notes permeate a March 2017 study of Washington’s LLLT program by the National Center for State Courts, with funding from the American Bar Foundation and Public Welfare Foundation. The study reported general client satisfaction with LLLTs, growth in the number of LLLTs, and increased acceptance of the concept by lawyers. But the study noted significant educational, regulatory and business challenges that may readily arise in other states that adopt similar programs. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
Fact check: Moore says NC is one of 'very few states' that lets governor pick judges

Bill Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts, says some states don’t have the Missouri model because states interpret “merit commission” differently and with varying degrees of involvement from legislators. He said because of that the term “merit commission” can be misleading by suggesting that a third party is involved in selecting judges. Read the full story from the News & Observer.

 
Nonprofit Law Firm Can’t Solicit Modest-Income Clients

Pro se parties make up an ever-larger share of the nation’s litigants. A 2015 study by the National Center for State Courts found that 76 percent of cases involved at least one pro se party. Read the full story from Big Law Business.

 
There is no justice as long as millions lack meaningful access to it

Another aspect of the justice gap especially important to the judiciary is the number of unrepresented litigants in the nation’s courts. The National Center for State Courts estimates that in almost 75 percent of civil cases in state courts, one or both parties are unrepresented. The numbers are even higher in some types of high-volume, high-stakes cases. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
Court slows down reduction in use of grand juries

Chief Judge Nan Nash also said the National Center for State Courts has recommended that Bernalillo county use more preliminary hearings and fewer grand juries. Read the full story from the Albuquerque Journal.

 
Ex-Court Commissioner Censured for Inflammatory Facebook Posts

Media archives and the National Center for State Courts have documented occasions when judges have been disciplined for posting improper remarks and materials on social media. Just last year the Commission on Judicial Performance admonished an Orange County judge for posting unfounded accusations about a prosecutor on Facebook. Read the full story from the Recorder.

 
Judge Sandra A. Thompson, Bench Officer for 35 Years, Dies at Age 71

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sandra A. Thompson, a bench officer for 35 years who served as president of the National Association of Women Judges, has died, following a long illness. She was 71. She was chair of the Municipal Court Judges Assn. of Los Angeles County in 1991-93, and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

 
How lawyers and judges can help rebuild public trust and confidence in our justice system

Our judges know, as urged by Jesse Rutledge of the National Center for State Courts in an earlier article in this series, that they need to do their share, each day, to earn the trust and confidence of the public which they serve. Understanding the challenges faced by their fellow community members through listening and outreach before community members seek justice in the courts is an important first step for those judges who want to earn the trust that leads to sustained judicial independence. Read the full article from the ABA Journal.

 
A Judge Just Ruled the Government Can’t Lock You Up for Being Broke

This lawsuit follows similar suits filed as far back as 2011 across the country, focused on eliminating imprisonment upon the inability to pay court fees, which are implemented in all 50 states in the country, according to an NPR survey done in conjunction with the Brennan Center and the National Center for State Courts. Cases won in Georgia, Missouri, and Alabama have already pushed those states into dismantling debtors’ prisons. Read the full article from Mother Jones.

 
Amid 'atmosphere of entitlement,' 4 remaining justices on top W.Va. court targeted for impeachment

William Raftery, a senior analyst with the National Center for State Courts, told the Wall Street Journal that West Virginia is the only state that gives the judiciary nearly total control over its own budget. A proposed constitutional amendment on the fall ballot would eliminate the provision. Read the full article from the ABA Journal.

 
A Solution to the Cash Bail Crisis Might Be Almost as Bad

According to a 2014 study by NPR, the Brennan Center, and the National Center for State Courts, jurisdictions in all but two states charge those on electronic monitoring for the use of the devices. These fees are often $5-20 per day, but can be much higher. San Francisco’s fee was $35 per day, until the city recently passed an ordinance to stop charging for electronic monitoring. Read the full article from the Progressive.

 
West Virginia Supreme Court Faces Impeachment Threat

William Raftery, a senior analyst with the National Center for State Courts, said he couldn’t recall an instance in recent years “in which an entire state Supreme Court has faced impeachment.” Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.

 
Returning Normalcy to the West Virginia Supreme Court

William Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts, said that criminal and ethical charges against supreme court or appeals court justices is not a common thing. “In terms of how often this occurs, it’s hard to say,” Raftery said. “It’s not typical, obviously.” Read the full story from The Intelligencer.

 
Hancock County Officials Allocate $700,000 for Courthouse Security Upgrades

According to the National Center for State Courts, courthouses are extremely vulnerable to random acts of violence due to their centralized locations and accessibility to the public. Read the full story from Correctional News.

 
Tampa appellate judges long for a home (without bullets)

Two years ago, the Legislature commissioned a $100,000 study of the court’s location and space needs. The study, completed by the National Center for State Courts and a commercial real estate firm, examined population growth trends, case load statistics and staffing numbers. Read the full story from the Tampa Bay Times.

 
New center aims to provide legal information, help to everyone

The center is funded by a $75,000 grant from the National Center for State Courts. Georgia was one of just seven states to receive this grant, and this was the only project chosen to be funded in Georgia. Read the full story from WXFL.

 
Calif. bar task force to consider regulatory changes on nonlawyer ownership of legal services firms

Henderson cited a National Center for State Courts report that looked at nearly 1 million civil cases from 10 urban counties and found that 76 percent of cases involved at least one party who was self-represented, which was roughly double the rate from a comparable study 20 years earlier. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
Can a woman find her way onto the all male Iowa Supreme Court? This time, likely yes

Some say the “elephant in the room” couldn’t be ignored this time around when a vacancy opened on the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa is the only state that has an all-male Supreme Court, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Gazette.

 
Reforming law school: Start with the end in mind

Law students should be expected to take classes in alternative dispute methods to avoid lengthy and costly trials. According to the National Center for State Courts, there were 84.2 million new cases filed in state courts in 2016, a decline from a peak of 106.1 million cases prior to the Great Recession in 2008. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
Litigation Finance Disclosure in the US: Common Sense and False Narratives

The one exception is Wisconsin, whose state legislature in March 2018 passed a law requiring parties in all civil litigation to disclose funding arrangements. The Wisconsin law appears to be an unintentional overreach from an effort to regulate consumer litigation funding. As Wisconsin is hardly a leader in commercial litigation, representing just 0.11 percent of civil matters filed in all US state courts (according to data provided by the Wisconsin Court Systems and the National Center for State Courts), its outlying position is unlikely to have any real effect. Read the full story from Big Law Business.

 
Why It’s Hard to Protect Domestic-Violence Survivors Online

In 1994, the National Center for State Courts conducted a study of 285 women in three cities—Denver, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, Delaware—who had obtained temporary or permanent orders of protection against their abusive male partners. More than half said that, in advance of the restraining order, they had been beaten or choked; a sizable majority reported being slapped, grabbed, shoved, or kicked; and 99 percent reported being intimidated through threats, stalking, or harassment. Read the full story in the Atlantic.

 
Iowa has the only all-male supreme court in the country. Could that change this year?

A 2016 report on the "gavel gap" found Iowa ranks 36th in the nation for how well its judiciary matches up with the state's overall population demographics.But in terms of diversity on its supreme court, Iowa is dead last, according to data from the National Center for State Courts. Iowa is the only state in 2018 to have no women on its high court. It has never appointed a person of color to the supreme court. Read the full story from the Des Moines Register.

 
New tool for Utah judges brings high hopes for better bail decisions

A 2017 National Center for State Courts report said the current generation of bail reform, including Utah’s, seeks to “craft bail provisions that allow for purposeful release and detention unobstructed by outside forces, such as money.” Read the full story from the Standard Examiner. 

 
You can now make bulk data requests for Virginia criminal court records

Whitfield wanted to know, for example, the percentage of Virginians who go to court without a lawyer. He worked with the National Center for State Courts, which produced the Virginia Self-Represented Litigant Study in March. Read the full story from the Daily Press.

 
Governor Brown Appoints Valencia Man As New Superior Court Judge

Even though the vast majority of judges in California are appointed by the governor, they have term limits and at some point must face an election if they want to keep their seats, according to the National Center for State Courts, a think-tank charged with improving judicial administration. Read the full story from HometownStation.com.

 
Judge Surbeck to retire at year's end

Judge John Surbeck, Jr. in 2012 was presented the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court for his work to put the program in place. He is the only person from Indiana to receive the award given each year to a state court judge who takes “bold steps to address a variety of issues affecting their communities,” according to a website for the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from JG Local.

 
Why journalists should cover local jails

Journalists can turn to the Fines and Fees Justice Center for news about local and state incarceration fees. The National Center for State Courts also has a 2017 deep study on fines and bond trends in state courts. Journalists will find co-authors of the study from many states. Read the full story from Poynter.

 
Judge's order says Alabama court 'literally had to beg for money' to pay staff

A study by the National Center for State Courts found the 13th Judicial Circuit’s clerk needs eight or nine more law clerks than she has, he notes. Richter says the state has acknowledged that the circuit also needs more judges, but it may only reallocate judgeships when an existing judge leaves office. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
There's less precedent for regional judicial elections than lawmakers suggest

According to National Center for State Courts analyst William Raftery, there are actually 10 states in which appellate judges are tied to a district in some way, and they're not the same ones Aument named. Read the full story from WITF.

 
Georgia juries are left in the dark when it comes to punishment

Jurors still impose the sentence in six states — Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia — according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 
Persky Recall Was a 'Perfect Storm.' But Did It Give Future Recall Advocates a Road Map?

A minority of states in the U.S. allow judicial recalls. Only nine have such a mechanism on the books, and four of them require certain facts be alleged or proven in order for the process to be triggered, according to William Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia. Read the full article from Law.com.

 
Remembering ‘Bo’ Torbert

Opelika lost one of its hometown stars with the passing of Clement Clay “Bo” Torbert Jr. June 2. Torbert was active in national affairs with respect to state court systems. He was appointed by President Reagan to serve as chairman of the first Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute and elected chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Opelika Observer.

 
Opioid crisis impacting all courts

Setting up national judicial guidelines that can be adapted by states should be a priority in handling the opioid epidemic as it impacts nearly all courts, Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush said Tuesday. The National Judicial Opioid Task Force, which is an arm of the National Center for State Courts, has launched an “Opioids and the Courts” web page at www.ncsc.org/opioidsandcourts. Read the full story from the Greensburg Daily News.

 
Senate Budget Vote Could Fund Medicaid Expansion, Vacant Loudoun Judgeship

Last year, a report by the National Center for State Courts concluded that Virginia needed 28 more judges in its Circuit, District, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts—including one in the 20th Circuit that serves Loudoun. Read the full story from LoudounNow. 

 
Henrico drug court reaches milestone at graduation

Those who have completed a drug court program are less likely to re-offend than someone who went through the regular criminal justice program, according to a 2012 report by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from nbc12.com.

 
People and Places

Gwyneth Collins of Bentonville was honored for her entry to the National Center for State Courts essay contest. She was presented a certificate in a ceremony in the Supreme Court Courtroom of the Arkansas State Capital. The award ceremony was a part of Law Day 2018. Read the full story from Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

 
Armstrong likely to secure fifth term on Oregon Court of Appeals

Armstrong cited a study from the National Center for State Courts, which concluded that the Oregon Court of Appeals lacks the capacity to issue opinions on every decision, and issues public decisions at a higher rate than comparable courts. Read the full story from The Bulletin.

 
Texas judges are leading a cultural shift on how we handle defendants with mental health problems

When it comes to mental health, the National Center for State Courts has cited a need for a cultural shift in our courts, and accordingly, Texas judges have made the decision to step up and lead the way with reforms that will benefit the lives of all Texans. Read the full article from the Dallas Morning News.

 
Because of threats, one in four judges say they pack heat

In a publication from the National Center For State Courts, judges are advised to not “let their guard down,” even at home. Something as simple as answering a knock on the door could be a security threat, so the advisory urges judges not to open any door without knowing who is on the other side. Read the full story from the Daytona Daily News.

 
Four Questions Public Sector Should be Asking About Blockchain

In a January “Trends Statement” paper, Paul Embley, chief information officer for the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), and Diana Graski, consultant with NCSC, note that blockchain technology “could soon be used in a variety of innovative ways to resolve court record-keeping challenges.” In particular, they call out court judgments, warrants and criminal histories—high-stakes records management involving multiple participants and hand-offs including law enforcement, probation and parole, courts and third-party information providers. Read the full story from Talk IoT.

 
Salem High School students receive recognition for Law Day 2018 essays

Two Salem High School students participated in the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Civics Education Essay Contest for Law Day 2018. Read the full story from Areawide Media.

 
Expect to hear from the courts if you ignore jury duty in Louisville

Follow up efforts to non-responsive citizens do help to increase overall response rates and make jury pools look more like the communities they serve, according to best practices from the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit focused on judicial administration. Read the full story from the Courier Journal.

 
Study finds 'stunning' justice gap in Virginia civil cases

The 5-year-long study was conducted by the National Center for State Courts and funded by a grant to Blue Ridge Legal Services with the support of the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Virginia Access to Justice Commission. Read the full story from Richmond.com.

 
Gary, Indiana student wins essay contest

Raquel Atkins, a fifth-grader at Glen Park Academy in Gary, won first place in the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) 2018 Civics Education Essay Contest, which is divided into three categories: elementary, middle and high school. The contest, which focused on the separation of powers, asked students to answer this question: “Why did the Founding Fathers create the three branches of government?” Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

 
AP FACT CHECK: Ad attacking Supreme Court justice misleading

The panel rejected the request, settling on a 2 percent raise. The pay for Goodson and the other associate justices increased by $3,330. Goodson said this week she was grateful to get that. Salaries for Arkansas' Supreme Court associate justices rank 27th among high courts nationally, according to a survey from the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article from the New Haven Register.

 
Sugar Creek's Morris earns third place

Seth Morris, a student at Sugar Creek Consolidated Elementary in West Terre Haute, received a third place in the National Center for State Courts’ 2018 Civics Education Essay Contest on April 23 at Williamsburg, Virginia. Read the full story from the Tribune Star.

 
Health law conference at SIU to address nation’s opioid epidemic

Michelle White, principal court management consultant, National Center for State Courts, is making a presentation at 19th annual SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute program, “Opening Pandora’s Bottle: Law, Policy, and America’s Opioid Epidemic” on May 18 at SIU Carbondale’s Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Auditorium. Read the full story from the Southern Illinoisan.

 
Letter: Probate court

Judge Condon is working with the National Center for State Courts to develop the Rapid Response Conservator Program to monitor transactions by conservators. Read the full story in the Post and Courier.

 
Appeals court: Armstrong

Armstrong, 68, a veteran of four six-year terms on the court, says that the court’s caseload has declined in number, but not in complexity. He says that even after the court’s expansion in 2012, a workload study by the National Center for State Courts concluded that the Oregon Court of Appeals should have double the number of judges it now has. Read the full story from the Register-Guard.

 
GOP plan to impeach 4 Pa. justices remains in limbo

Efforts to impeach or otherwise remove judges because of controversial rulings have been undertaken in at least a half-dozen states in recent years, according to the National Center for State Courts, but none has been successful. Read the full story from the Sentinel. 

 
'I had nightmares': Nanny slay trial took toll on jurors

About 70 percent of jurors report some level of stress, but less than 10 percent report extreme stress, according to a study done by the National Center for State Courts. Some judges will request a crisis-management session after a trial but that's unusual and was not ordered after the nanny verdict. Read the full story from the Longview-News Journal.

 
For prosecutors, Louisiana's split-verdict law produces results

In more than 1,800 trials with 12-member juries from The Advocate's database, 81 percent ended with the jury — or at least 10 jurors — voting to convict a defendant of at least one charge. That’s well above the 71 percent rate reported by the National Center for State Courts in a 2003 survey of 30 large counties across the country. Read the full story from the New Orleans Advocate.

 
Fees and fines threaten judicial independence

A study by NPR and the National Center for State Courts found that, between 2010 and 2014, 48 states criminal and civil fees, added new fees, or both. And when so many fees are dedicated to courtroom costs and salaries, the public’s confidence in judicial impartiality can be undermined. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
Exploitation of Seniors Focus of Hearing in Washington, D.C.

According to the National Center for State Courts, there are about 1.3 million adult guardianship cases in the US today. Read the full story from Erie News Now.

 
Treatment court provides pathway to sobriety

According to a 2016 report by the National Center for State Courts, Minnesota’s treatment courts are funded by multiple sources. Sources include judicial branch appropriation, Minnesota Office for Traffic Safety, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota Office of Justice Programs, federal funding and local government sources. Read the full story from the Globe.

 
Impeachment a tale of eroding checks, balances

From 1974 until my retirement at the end of 2013, I worked as a lawyer for the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit charged with improving judicial administration in the United States and around the world. Read the full story from the NH Business Review.

 
Whitfield: Poor and Locked Out of Our Civil Justice System

California Court of Appeals Justice Earl Johnson Jr. once wryly observed that “[p]oor people have access to the American courts in the same sense that the Christians had access to the lions when they were dragged into a Roman arena.” That dystopian vision of our system of civil justice just gained further credence in the findings of a recently released report from the National Center for State Courts, The Virginia Self-Represented Litigant Study. In this study, the center analyzed data from the Virginia courts’ databases, focusing on those who go to court without a lawyer. Read the full story on GoDanRiver.com.

 
Supporting independent courts—from the inside out

Since 2014, the National Center for State Courts has published an annual public opinion survey—The State of the State Courts—designed to track public attitudes toward our state courts. The numbers haven’t always been pretty. And the data suggests we must tidy up our own house while also trying to prevent these external forces from undermining the judiciary. Our 2017 survey revealed that only 58 percent of Americans believe that the term “fair and impartial” describes our courts well. Our 2015 poll found that only 32 percent of African-Americans believe that our courts provide equal justice to all. Read the full story from the ABA Journal.

 
How to win in court without overpaying

Justice can be expensive. How expensive? A 2013 study by the National Center for State Courts suggests it’s unaffordable for most of us. Even a simple automobile case can exceed $100,000 per side if the case goes to trial. Read the full story on elliot.org.

 
You soon will earn more money for jury duty

The change does not apply to folks called for jury duty in state court systems — which tend to pay less, according to data compiled by the nonprofit National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on wfmz.com.

 
The Ultimate Guide to Vetting a Business Partner

Your local courthouse can be a source of information about lawsuits or other public record information. However, keep in mind this information will be limited to actions taken in that jurisdiction. And it may even be inaccurate. It’s not unusual for people with similar names to be mistaken for one another for example. (Millions of court judgments have been removed from credit reports recently because they couldn’t be thoroughly matched to the right person.) “Courts do not conduct criminal background checks,” warns the National Center for State Courts on its website. Read the full story on nav.com.

 
30th Judicial Circuit Court recognized for timely service to public

The Daniel J. O’Toole Award earned by the 30th Judicial Circuit is based on clearance rate criteria. The National Center for State Courts defines clearance rate as the number of outgoing cases as a percentage of the number of incoming cases. If 100 cases are filed and 95 are disposed in the given time period, the clearance rate is .95 or 95 percent. Read the full story from the Marshfield Mail.

 
Proposal would expand public access to N.D. court records

A best practice issued last summer by the National Center for State Courts and State Justice Institute factored in, Crothers and Jensen said. Read the full story from the Bismark Tribune.

 
Tough odds for defendants in Virginia's lowest courts

Whitfield, working with the National Center for State Courts, analyzed records of civil cases in general district courts across Virginia. Read the full story from the Daily Press.

 
How Drug Courts Work

As opioids began to ravage the city, court officials found that drug court participants were overdosing and dying at an alarming rate. In 2017, with a grant of $300,000, Buffalo's Opioid Crisis Intervention Court opened with Hannah as its chief judge [source: Schanz]. Since its birth in May 2017, only one defendant out of 204 has since died of a drug overdose [source: National Center for State Courts]. Read the full story from howstuffworks.com.

 
Potential Cosby Jurors Are Asked About #MeToo Bias

The very fact that judge O'Neill is allowing five additional accusers to testify - not one, as in the first trial - is evidence of how the #MeToo moment has influenced the case, said Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. The judge has not explained his reasoning for allowing more accusers to testify this time. "When I saw that, I said really, the ground has really shifted," Ms. Hannaford-Agor said. "The judge has had to pay attention." Read the full story in the New York Times.

 
Why it’s so hard for women to ‘just leave’ abusive relationships

Fortunately, professional training is available on how to respond to domestic abuse, from programs for clergy to judges to law enforcement. And to fight gender bias, the National Center for State Courts is applying new strategies, such as exercises that increase awareness of unintended bias. Read the full article from Infosurhoy.

 
GOP chief justice slams Republican judicial impeachment move

Lawmakers in at least a half-dozen states have sought in recent years to impeach or otherwise remove judges as a result of controversial decisions — including in some instances over same-sex marriage rulings — but without success, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the article from the Washington Post.

 
Kentucky budget would make putting police in schools cheaper

Judges and circuit court clerks have not gotten raises in about a decade, according to Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. Kentucky's judicial salaries rank 48th out of 50 states, according to a 2017 survey by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article from the Lexington Herald Leader.

 
Republicans are calling for the impeachment of Pennsylvania judges. It’s nothing new.

Using the Gavel to Gavel database maintained by the National Center for State Courts, I gathered data on all court-related bills introduced in the 50 U.S. states from 2008 through 2016. After reading each bill to determine whether it “curbed” the court in one way or another, I found more than 1,700 court-curbing bills in state legislatures in those nine years. Read the story from the Washington Post.

 
You've never seen a court like this... but would it work on Staten Island?

According to a 2013 study by the National Center for State Courts, the Red Hook Community Justice Center reduced the number of defendants receiving jail sentences by 35 percent and lowered recidivism by 10 percent for adults and by 20 percent for juveniles. Read the full story on SILive.com.

 
WV Intermediate Court of Appeals Waste of Taxpayer Money

Indeed, the National Center for State Courts says that West Virginia has long been in the bottom 25 percent of states when it comes to civil cases filed (based on population). Read the full story in The Legal Examiner.

 
The truth about the US jury system

Gregory Hurley (National Center for State Courts): "Jury consultants are really not there necessarily to create an impartial jury they're there to pick a jury that they feel is going to be most favorable for their client. But the other side is doing the same thing and the idea is through that battle an impartial jury will eventually be developed... It's not a system that is perfect but it is a very effective system that's been around a long time." Read the full story in the Business Examiner.

 
State judges have been impeached, but very rarely

2010 research report from the National Center for State Courts detailed some of these efforts, including moves to remove judges for their court decisions. Bills were filed in the state legislatures of Massachusetts, Iowa and New Jersey to remove state supreme court judges who approved same-sex marriages. Read the full story from the National Constitution Center.

 
County moves to clear land for new courthouse

A 1988 study done by the National Center for State Courts showed that the administration building was “functionally unsatisfactory in terms of circulation, structural, and environmental systems.” Read the full article from the Hudson Reporter.

 
Under Florida bill, 9th Circuit could expand, other circuits could lose judges

"Our methodology evolved to this weighted case management where we are able, with the assistance of the National Center for State Courts, to weight filings more appropriately when we make our requests for our expansion of the workforce," Lauten said. Read the full story from the Florida Record.

 
House Bill Strips Funding for Loudoun Judgeship

Despite a study by the National Center for State Courts that found Loudoun needs another judge—and despite having a person ready for the job—a key House of Delegates committee has decided not to restore funding for a Loudoun Circuit Court judge that the General Assembly took away in 2017. Read the full story from Loudoun Now.

 
County judge tables poll proposal

County Judge Barry Moehring and Chang-Ming Yeh of the National Center for State Courts walk Tuesday near the Benton County Circuit Court building in Bentonville. Moehring, along with other interested county personnel and consultants, took a tour of the chosen site for a new courts building in downtown Bentonville. Read the full story from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

 
Rulings make judges legislative targets; impeachment bid in Pennsylvania

Impeachment threats have become more common in the last 10 years, according to Bill Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts. He tells the Times that, during the 2011-12 legislative session, lawmakers in seven states sought to oust judges. Read the full article in the ABA Journal.

 
Judges say throw out the map. Lawmakers say through out the judges.

As far back as the 1800s, New Hampshire's legislature disbanded the state's Supreme Court five times, said Bill Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., who has tracked legislation affecting the judicial system for years. Read the full story in the New York Times.

 
Bearing the brunt of jury duty

A 2007 study by the National Center for State Courts showed that of the 10.2 million summonses mailed to California residents, only 192,884 of those people were selected to serve on a jury. The costs add up. Read the full story in the Register Pajaronian.

 
Richard Spencer and 2 others claim they can't find lawyers for Charlottesville defense

Going without a lawyer isn’t entirely uncommon. The National Center for State Courts, in a 2006 report, found a rise in the number of pro se litigants, particularly in divorce and family cases. Read the full story at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 
Legislators strike a middle path between Martinez and judiciary on crime

Judicial salaries would jump on average by about 4.5 percent. The judiciary would welcome that — for several years, New Mexico judges’ salaries ranked at or near the bottom nationally in nearly every category. That changed at the beginning of the year, when the state plummeted to the cellar in all categories, according to a new survey released Jan. 1 by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article on NMpolitics.net.

 
Policy of Openness Has Been Key Philosophy for Retiring Chief Justice

Rogers was appointed to the State Justice Institute’s board of directors in 2010 by President  Barack Obama, and was elected chairwoman on June 13, 2016. She has served on an advisory committee for the National Center for State Courts Expanding Court Access to Justice Project and the Conference of Chief Justices Civil Justice Initiative Committee. Read the full story in the Connecticut Law Tribune.

 
Essay contest on branches of government open to students

The National Center for State Courts is sponsoring the competition, which asks entrants to answer the following question in 100 words or fewer: “Why did our Founding Fathers create three branches of government?” Read the full article on the IndianaLawyer.com.

 
Iowa court administrator David Boyd wins national award

David K. Boyd, the former state court administrator for the Iowa Judicial Branch, was named the recipient of the National Center for State Courts' Warren E. Burger Award, named for the former U.S. Supreme Court justice. Read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

 
Do orders of protection actually shield domestic violence victims?

Victims of domestic violence should at least consider getting a protective order, says Susan Keilitz, JD, Principal Court Research Consultant at the National Center for State Courts and an expert on civil protection orders. Read the full story on theCrimeReport.org.

 
Raises for SC employees unlikely, but judges want a 20% pay hike

“South Carolina’s judicial salaries remain low compared to other states, according to the National Center for State Courts. This request is a first step toward establishing comparable salaries to other justices and judges across the country,” said Tonnya Kennedy Kohn, interim director of S.C. Court Administration. Read the full story in the State.

 
Movement Against Juvenile Court Fees Runs Into Resistance

A 2017 report by the National Center for State Courts found that most states do not have systems in place for juvenile probation supervision or to waive those fees when appropriate to do so. Read the full article on the Luxora Leader.

 
NM’s skeletal criminal justice system needs a cash infusion

The state Administrative Office of the Courts has asked for a $14 million increase this year, in part to boost the pay of New Mexico’s judges, which are the lowest paid in the nation, according to a report from the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article on NMPolitics.net.

 
NC justice system overhaul injects politics into state’s court system, critics say

Nowhere in America are so many changes coming to courts in such a relatively short time, says Bill Raftery, an analyst with the National Center for State Courts. Read the full article in the Charlotte Observer.

 
D.A., BP have an idea to fight recidivist crime on Staten Island - but will agencies get on board?

According to a 2013 report by the National Center for State Courts, the Red Hook Community Justice Center reduced recidivism and the number of people receiving jail sentences and helped strengthen neighborhoods. Read the full article on silive.com.

 
From our archives: "I'm it" - The only African American judge in Oregon's state court system, Adrienne Nelson

One final issue limits the pool of judicial candidates: Oregon pays its judges less than at least 47 other states, according to the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit advocacy organization. When good lawyers can earn more as newly minted associates than as senior judges, it's hard to lure them from the private sector onto the bench.

 
Did prosecutors go too far in clearing a cop in a 2014 killing?

“The prosecutor has an amazing amount of control over a grand jury,” says Greg Hurley, an analyst with the National Center for State Courts. “They can signal the grand jury in a lot of different ways in terms of the outcome they're looking for.” Read the full story in the Portland Mercury.

 
The Perils of ‘Off-Label Sentencing’

Actuarial sentencing has gained the support of many practitioners, academics, and prominent organizations, including the National Center for State Courts and the American Law Institute. [see Model Penal Code: Sentencing § 6B.09] See the full article from the Crime Report.