@TheCenter from NCSC


Veterans court judge receives top national honor

Texas Judge Marc C. Carter received NCSC’s 2016 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence November 17 during a dinner at the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. presented Judge Carter the award before more than 250 court leaders from across the country. The Rehnquist Award recognizes a state court judge who possesses integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and sound judgment. Judge Carter, of the 228th Criminal District Court in Harris County, Texas, created the first veterans court in Texas, which serves as a model for veterans treatment courts across the country. “Judge Carter recognized that many veterans who come to court with substance abuse problems, mental health disorders, and other issues need rehabilitative services, not incarceration. His commitment, compassion, and leadership for veterans treatment courts serve as a national model,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen.


Webinar gives virtual tour of Kentucky Pretrial Services

You’re invited to a virtual tour of Kentucky’s Pretrial Services program, which serves as a model for states, counties, and cities interested in pretrial reform. NCSC worked with Kentucky court leaders to produce a webinar that offers enhanced descriptions of the telephonic presentation of defendant information to judges making pretrial release decisions, as well as outcome data on release success rates. This interactive learning experience was developed, in part, to help defray travel costs to Kentucky by court leaders across the country interested in Kentucky’s innovative program. The virtual tour was funded by the State Justice Institute and supported by the Public Welfare Foundation. Click here to view a recording of the webinar, here to read the webinar Q&A, and here to take the full tour.


Grants awarded for improving access to justice


NCSC has announced that grants will be awarded to seven states—Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York—under the Justice for All project, which is supported by the Public Welfare Foundation and housed at NCSC. The grants will support states in forming partnerships with all relevant stakeholders in the civil justice community and beyond to develop state assessments and strategic action plans to implement Resolution 5 of the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators on Meaningful Access to Justice for All. The project also seeks to enhance states’ commitments to reimagining how to work across organizational boundaries and optimize all available resources to advance access to justice for all.


Survey will explore access-to-justice innovations


NCSC researchers have partnered with the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters to explore innovations in state courts. Through an online survey, the organizations are seeking to identify existing access-to-justice innovations and gather information on what future developments focused on lay users should include. NCSC invites you to share your jurisdiction’s achievements and identify the key user-focused developments for tomorrow’s courts by participating in this short survey. Contact Shelley Spacek Miller if you have any questions.


Civil Justice Improvements Committee issues request for proposals

Wanted: State and local court systems to apply as pilot sites to implement recommendations of the Conference of Chief Justices’ Civil Justice Improvements Committee. Selected courts are eligible to receive technical assistance from NCSC and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and up to $50,000 to defray any costs associated with the pilot project. Applications are due on or before January 15, 2017. Details about the application process and selection criteria are available here.


Ohio Jury Management Association receives 2016
G. Thomas Munsterman Award

The Ohio Jury Management Association (OJMA) received NCSC's 2016 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation earlier this month. OJMA was established to support the understanding and implementation of effective jury management practices in Ohio trial courts. The overall mission of the organization is to promote and enhance jury service through effective jury management. To fulfill its mission, OJMA has conducted an annual conference for 17 consecutive years; created and updated a jury management manual; produced a jury orientation video; developed a Jury Notes newsletter; conducted a statewide survey of jury practices; created and maintained www.ohiojury.org; and produced a podcast. The G. Thomas Munsterman Award recognizes states, local courts, organizations, or individuals that have made significant improvements or innovations in jury procedures, operations, and practices.


NCSC reading room


Scholar and former law school dean Edward H. Levi became attorney general when confidence in the U.S. justice system was at an all-time low following the Watergate scandal. How did Attorney General Levi rebuild the public’s trust and confidence in the government, particularly for the law-enforcement community? In Restoring Justice: The Speeches of Attorney General Edward H. Levi, Jack Fuller, a former special assistant to Levi in the Department of Justice, uses carefully selected speeches by Levi that allow a reader to gain insight into his intellect. Attorney General Levi addressed concerns with the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI against internal resistance, as well as issues raised by electronic surveillance. Fuller’s editorial remarks, use of original texts (e.g., DOJ press releases), accessible resources, and citations encourage further exploration. This book is available from the NCSC Library.

Courts face challenges in hiring and retaining IT professionals. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses what courts are doing to compete with the usually higher salaries offered by the private sector.

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law discusses "Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Cases with State-Court Impact" in the November edition of NCSC's podcast, Court Talk. Click here to listen to the conversation.

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