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 Register now for the Trial Court Leadership Conference

The inaugural conference of the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers, NAPCO, is being held September 25–28, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Marriott Downtown Hotel at Key Center. Trial court leaders and court executives from all jurisdictions are encouraged to attend. The first day of the conference’s education program is a Leadership Academy with presenters from the Center for Applied Research, CFAR, which is affiliated with the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania. Education sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday will include:

  • civil justice reform
  • court technologies that save adjudication time and money
  • crisis management strategies
  • fines, fees, and court costs
  • how to transform public attitudes about courts

For the full agenda and to register, please go to http://napco4courtleaders.org/.  The conference is a collaboration with the National Center for State Courts. NAPCO formerly was the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts. The following associations will also be holding their annual conferences in September:


Former NY chief judge recipient of first Mary C. McQueen Award

Retired New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is the recipient of the first Mary C. McQueen Award for Excellence and Leadership in Justice System Improvement, presented by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), the National Association for Court Management (NACM), and the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers (NAPCO). The award will be presented to Chief Judge Lippman July 26, as part of the annual joint conference of CCJ and COSCA, being held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “One would be hard pressed to identify a person who has contributed more to the advancement of justice than Jonathan Lippman. . . . At a national level, his influence has been felt in nearly every major court development over the last two decades,” State Court Administrators Dave Byers (Arizona) and Dan Becker (Utah) said in a nomination letter signed by numerous state court chief justices and state court administrators. Chief Judge Lippman has served in state and national leadership roles on several critical issues, including:

  • improving access to civil legal services
  • helping courts respond to the increase of human trafficking
  • addressing wrongful convictions
  • increasing pro bono work by attorneys
  • reforming bail practices

Mary McQueen has served as NCSC president since 2004 and throughout her career has been an advocate for court and judicial reform.


Meet e-Courts’ 2016 keynote speaker

Gary Marchant, Regents’ Professor of Law at Arizona State University, takes the stage as keynote speaker at e-Courts 2016 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 12.  A noted “futurist,” Marchant brings a unique perspective to how changes in science, technology, and society will impact the law and the courts—and how those changes are coming far sooner than many of us might think.  His research interests include the use of genetic information in environmental regulation, risk and the precautionary principle, legal aspects of personalized medicine, and regulation of emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, neuroscience, and biotechnology.  Register for e-Courts today at the Regular Play rate (now through September 30) to hear Marchant’s speech and learn about the hot technology trends in the courts.


Online curriculum helps with cases involving unaccompanied immigrant children

The number of unaccompanied immigrant children (UACs) from Central America has been steadily rising, which means more filings in state juvenile courts seeking support for applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.  To help state courts handle these complex cases, the State Justice Institute, the National Center for State Courts, and the Center for Public Policy Studies developed the Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the State Courts online curriculum, which aims to increase understanding among state court judges, court administrators, and court stakeholders about:
  • federal immigration law, policy, and practice and the impact on state courts of cases involving UACs
  • how the work of the state courts in cases involving UACs intersects with the needs of the federal immigration system
  • the different types of cases where UACs might appear in state courts
  • the role of the state courts in providing factual findings in cases involving UACs
To take the course, participants must register here.


Judicial salaries show uptick in 2015

The most recent Survey of Judicial Salaries shows that judicial salaries are slowly approaching pre-recession rates (roughly 3.2%) with an average increase of 1.6% in 2015. The recent survey also includes new information on state-by-state differences in contribution rates paid by judges toward defined benefit retirement programs and a look at nationwide judicial retirement ages.  The Survey of Judicial Salaries, published twice annually for more than 40 years by NCSC (with the support of state court administrative offices across the country), serves as the primary record of compensation for state judicial officers and state court administrators.  The Judicial Salary Tracker website hosts archives, state-by-state information on judicial benefits (new 2015 data), and background on how states set their salaries.  In early 2015, NCSC collected comprehensive judicial retirement information from 45 states by using a 15-question survey.  The results are accessible on the Salary Tracker. It is updated regularly, and any questions or comments can be forwarded to Knowledge and Information Services Analyst Jarret Hann.


NCSC reading room


The National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices, which is led by the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators, is tackling the effect of monetary sanctions on communities. A University of Washington sociologist, Alexes Harris, examines the effects of court fines and fees on society and individuals in A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor. Her central thesis is that the “imposition of fines and fees creates a two-tiered system of punishment: one for those with financial means and one for those who are poor.” She investigates the imposition of monetary sanctions on criminal defendants across the United States and addresses their long-term effects; considers the legal intent behind these penalties and the actual consequences; and, using Washington State as her case study, analyzes the crucial issues. This book is available from NCSC’s Library.

Faced with increasing crime rates in the mid-1970s, federal and state policymakers implemented increasingly punitive and ineffective criminal-sentencing policies. The keynote article of Trends in State Courts 2016 highlights recent state and federal sentencing reform initiatives to address the consequences and failures of those sentencing policies.

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