Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

Rhode Island court director named to leadership positions in two national court organizations

Williamsburg, Va., August 5, 2019 – Rhode Island Court Administrator J. Joseph Baxter has been named president of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and vice-chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. Both positions are one-year terms and became effective July 31, during the annual joint meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators in Asheville, N.C.

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. It works closely with the CCJ on issues of mutual interest.

“The nation’s state courts have benefited from Joe’s leadership abilities, especially in his work on key CCJ/COSCA committees,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “Joe has earned a seat on the national stage through his innovative and tireless approach to making the courts more efficient and effective.”  

Baxter, who was appointed state court administrator in May 2004, has served on the COSCA board of directors since 2014 and as co-chair of the CCJ/COSCA joint committees on Security and Emergency Preparedness and on Meeting and Planning. He also is a member of the National Association for Court Management.

Baxter has worked for the Rhode Island Judiciary for more than 35 years, with 18 years in the Family Court and 17 years in the Supreme Court. 

A native and resident of Smithfield, R.I., Baxter received his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island. He is a certificate recipient in Effective Case Flow Management from the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev., and a certificate recipient in Divorce Mediation Training from Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. 

He is a former Smithfield town moderator, former chairman of the town’s board of canvassers, and former member of the Smithfield Charter Review Commission.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court reform organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.



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