@TheCenter from NCSC

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 6 | JUNE 2017   

Don’t miss CTC 2017

Register now for CTC 2017 being held September 12-14 in Salt Lake City. The education program is packed with sessions, including Using Data to Know Your Users; Cyber Crisis Management and Communications; and Mobile Technology: The Next Evolution. The program features five educational tracks:

  • Show Me the Data
  • Next Generation Courts
  • Maintaining Public Trust and Confidence
  • Looking Into the Future
  • User-Friendly Courts

Go to www.ctc2017.org for a summary of the program and to register. Check out the full detailed schedule by creating an account—this is a very quick and easy process, with no personal information needed.

Keynote speaker Mark Lanterman, chief technology officer of Computer Forensic Services in Minneapolis, will talk about recent high-profile cyber-crime events, including website breaches that impact manufacturers, retailers, banks, law firms, and government agencies. He will also discuss particularly dangerous types of threats that could affect courts and individuals, such as the Dark Web, the Internet of Things, phishing, and wifi attacks.


Journalists hear from court leaders on fines, fees, and bail

“Holding people in jail simply because they are poor negatively impacts the trajectory of their lives, including increasing the likelihood of recidivism,”  Missouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge told a group of national reporters attending the Journalist Law School at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles recently. Chief Justice Breckenridge was part of a June 9 panel talking to reporters about how the “Third Branch Confronts Race and Class: Fines, Fees, and Bail,” an issue the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and NCSC have been working on for more than a year through their National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices. Panelist Martin Hoshino, administrative director of the Judicial Council of California, said “it’s bad public policy to fund courts with fines and fees.” NCSC has partnered with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles for several years hosting the Journalist Law School to provide reporters with in-depth information about current legal and court-related issues. Chief Justice Breckenridge and Hoshino discussed consitutionally mandated procedures before incarcerating individuals for failure to pay fines and costs, and the ways courts are working to create alternate sanctions to fines, fees, and bail in a manner that does not disproportionately hurt minorities and the economically disadvantaged.


New project studies criminal case management

Managing the progress of the 20 million or so criminal cases brought to the state courts every year is not an easy task. The Effective Criminal Case Management (ECCM) Project is a three-year effort, supported by a $1.5M grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, to document court performance and effective practices in criminal cases. With a year’s worth of case-level data from about 75 courts in more than 20 states—totaling about two million individual cases—the NCSC Research Division will take the first large-scale empirical look at these cases. The project, led by Principal Court Research Consultant Brian Ostrom, is midway through the process of building a comparable set of data. High-performing courts will be identified and their effective practices documented. To stay informed on this project, visit www.ncsc.org/eccm.


Do you know anyone who has made innovations in jury operations?

The Center for Jury Studies is seeking nominations for the G. Thomas Munsterman Award, which recognizes states, local courts, individuals, or other organizations that have made significant improvements or innovations in jury procedures, operations, or practices in one of the following categories: state or local statutes, rules, or other formal changes; jury management; and in-court improvements. Nominations for the Munsterman Award are currently being accepted through August 16, 2017, and can be sent by email to Greg Hurley.


10 Questions with Jim McMillan

At NCSC, we’re proud of the research we do, the advice we give, and the education we provide to our colleagues in the courts. And we’re proud of the people who do that work.

Jim McMillan was the original IT director for the Arizona Supreme Court, and in 1982 the court received a $25,000 federal grant to buy word-processing equipment for the Arizona Court of Appeals. He and an appellate court judge were assigned to work together to figure out the best way to spend the money. The judge? A former Arizona state senator named Sandra Day O’Connor. “We went to a lot of meetings together,” Jim said, “and my claim to fame is that Sandra Day O’Connor was my chauffeur.” Read the full interview at www.ncsc.org/10questions.


NCSC reading room


Donald N. Duquette, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, reveals findings from the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System (QIC-ChildRep) in Children's Justice: How to Improve Legal Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System. The main premise of this book is that using QIC-ChildRep’s Best Practice Model of Child Representation improves lawyers’ approaches to representing children and consequently enhances case outcomes for many children. Children’s Justice identifies the rationale for the QIC Best Practice Model and the six core skills that social worker/lawyer teams need for representing children in child welfare cases. It also provides recommendations for the future of child representation. This book is available from NCSC’s Library.

Courts are being challenged by rising numbers of self-represented litigants. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses how the District of Columbia’s Housing Conditions Court presents one possible role judges can play to improve access to justice for such litigants.

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