@TheCenter from NCSC


VOLUME 7, ISSUE 5 | MAY 2016

Language access topic of NCSC’s newest graphic novel


NCSC has released the sixth in a series of graphic novels that help educate the public about the courts. Justice Case Files #6: The Case of No Pets Allowed tells the story of the Ruiz family, who has received an eviction notice from their landlord because they own a dog. The parents speak minimal English and rely on their teenage son, who is bilingual, for English translation. The book follows the family through the court process of fighting the eviction but not understanding the process because of language barriers. When the family realizes the courts provide interpreters, the outlook for their case improves. The books are available in print and online.


Get a Close Up of Trends’ new series

Trends in State Courts has released two new features for court leaders. Trends: Close Up is a quarterly publication that provides informative, educational, and timely updates for state court judges, administrators, and stakeholders.  Its first edition, “Cellphones and Self-Represented Litigants,” reviews the policy issues on allowing mobile devices into the courtrooms. The new video series, Court Buzz, explains hot topics in the field of judicial administration based on trends in information requests fielded by NCSC’s knowledge and information analysts. This first video presents the five most current topics in judicial education; the second video explains the impact of social media and the courts.


ICM Fellows graduate at U.S. Supreme Court

 Eighteen graduates from the ICM Fellows Program celebrated their achievement at the U.S. Supreme Court on May 6, 2016. Major General William K. Suter, 19th Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States (ret.), was the graduation speaker. Major General Suter spoke about the importance of leadership and what each graduate can and should bring to state courts and our system of democratic governance. ICM Fellows certification is the highest and most demanding professional development certificate offered by the Institute for Court Management (ICM). To become an ICM Fellow, participants complete a rigorous 16-month program that includes the design and completion of an independent court research and improvement project that contributes to the growing professional literature on court administration. Since 1970, nearly 1,250 court leaders have become Fellows of the Institute for Court Management.  


Nominate an outstanding judge for NCSC’s Rehnquist Award

NCSC is currently accepting nominations for the 2016 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, one of the nation’s highest judicial honors. Nominations are due Friday, June 17, 2016. The Rehnquist Award recognizes a state court judge who demonstrates the outstanding qualities of judicial excellence, including integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, knowledge of the law, professional ethics, sound judgment, intellectual courage, and decisiveness. The recipient is recognized during an awards ceremony held at the U.S. Supreme Court, hosted by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. Last year’s honoree was Judge Steve Leifman, associate administrative judge of the Miami-Dade County Court-Criminal Division in Florida, pictured here with Chief Justice Roberts. Nominations may be submitted to Stacey Smith, NCSC, 300 Newport Ave., Williamsburg, VA 23185 or by email.


NCSC announces 2016 Civics Education Essay Contest winners

Taylor Stryker, a fifth-grader at Walsingham Academy Lower School in Williamsburg, Virginia; Camryn Trabue, a seventh-grader at Sawgrass Springs Middle School in Coral Springs, Florida; and Kaileigh Thompson, a ninth-grader at Benson High School in Benson, Arizona, are the first-place winners of NCSC’s 2016 Civics Education Essay Contest, held to recognize Law Day, May 1. Contest entries were divided into three age categories: third to fifth grade, sixth to eighth grade, and ninth to twelfth grade. Each age group was asked—"In your own words, what are the Miranda Rights and why are they important?" NCSC received 317 entries representing 13 states. Before judging, students’ names, schools, and the representative states were removed from the entries. Thompson was honored by members of the Arizona Supreme Court during oral arguments at Benson High School on Tuesday, May 3 (pictured on the left, with Vice Chief Justice John Pelander, Chief Justice Scott Bales, Justice Ann Scott Timmer, Justice Clint Bolick, and Justice Robert Brutinel). Virginia Chief Justice Don Lemons recognized the fifth-grade winners (pictured at right, Daniel Zilla, Taylor Strkyer, and Anne Barry), all from Walsingham Academy Lower School, during Virginia’s annual Judicial Conference on Tuesday, May 10. Read the winning entries here.


NCSC reading room

How can academic research help judges to improve what they do? This is the subject of Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary. In this book, Judge Richard A. Posner, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, discusses the “gap” between the academy and the judiciary and describes what he would like to see the academy do in “scholarship, teaching, and continuing judicial education.” He also examines “deficiencies” in the judicial profession (at the federal level) that hinder its improvement. This book is available from NCSC’s Library.

Many law-enforcement officers use body-worn cameras to record their interactions with the public. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses the benefits of these devices and the issues they raise regarding the handling of evidence.
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