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CSI brief helps judges with probation supervision

A brief by NCSC’s Center for Sentencing Initiatives (CSI) outlines how judges can use an evidence-based approach to promoting and enforcing offender compliance with conditions of probation supervision. This recently released publication summarizes the goals of effective probation supervision, what works to promote compliance with the terms and conditions of probation, and what works in sanctioning violations. It also describes the use of graduated sanctions and incentives, including administrative sanctions; the role of offender risk-and-needs-assessment information and other specific factors that should be considered in making decisions about individual cases; and when revocation may be an appropriate response to a violation. An Evidence-Based Approach to Promoting and Enforcing Compliance with Conditions of Probation  Supervision, funded in part by The Pew Charitable Trusts, can be found here. For more from NCSC’s Center for Sentencing Initiatives, see www.ncsc.org/csi.


Grab the tools your court needs to plan/manage high-profile cases

What if your court got the next Jerry Sandusky, Kobe Bryant, or Boston bomber case? Would you know how to prepare for the crowds, the security, the media spotlight? To help courts be ready from Day One on how to handle a high-profile case, a new website—Managing High-Profile Cases for the 21st Century—has been launched. The website offers best practices, techniques, and tools that have proven useful to courts that have experienced high-profile trials, in addition to checklists to help the trial judge, administrative officer, security personnel, jury managers, and others provide public access while ensuring a fair trial. The website is a joint project of the National Center for State Courts, the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, and the National Judicial College.


Register now for best CTC rate

The Court Technology Conference (CTC) 2017 is being held September 12-14 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Palace Convention Center. For the best rates, register by the Early Bird deadline of May 15. If you are familiar with CTC, you know its tradition of introducing new perspectives to techie tools for the court profession. This year, CTC offers several education tracks, such as Next Generation Courts, User-Friendly Courts in the Amazon.com era, Maintaining Public Trust and Confidence, Show Me the Data, and more! Stay tuned for more information on sessions, and don’t forget that NCSC has a new app to give you more detailed information as time gets closer! CTC 2017 is currently accepting nominations for the James E. McMillan Award for Innovation in Court Technology. Learn how to apply for the scholarship here.


Washington’s new Limited License Legal Technician program a proven success

The Washington State courts and bar created a new legal assistance role called the Limited License Legal Technician.  LLLTs are unsupervised paralegals with special training, who can help potential litigants with family-law forms and procedural issues. They charge fees for their services but are much more affordable than lawyers for people getting divorces or dealing with child-custody issues.  An evaluation by the National Center for State Courts and the American Bar Foundation found that LLLTs are helping those who cannot afford a lawyer and would struggle if they had to handle family-court cases as self-represented litigants.  Although the state continues to improve the design of the LLLT program, the evaluation shows that it increases access to justice without taking business away from traditional full-service lawyers.


NCSC reading room


In The Psychology of Juries, editor Margaret Bull Kovera (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) revives jury scholarship with a collection of articles from legal scholars, lawyers, sociologists, and psychologists. What are some important questions of inquiry that have been overlooked by jury researchers, and what methods should researchers rely on when studying those questions? These jury scholars present a comprehensive survey of the literature on jury behavior and decision making and discuss approaches to research design and evaluation of jury research. Kovera concludes with a road map for future directions and offers these areas of inquiry: testing new models of jury decision making, studying systems of lay participation around the globe, and considering the effects of jury-decision results. This book is available from NCSC’s Library.

Judges and other court staff may be at risk of suffering from secondary or vicarious trauma. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses strategies for building resilience that can help individuals deal with this issue.

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