@TheCenter from NCSC

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 5 | MAY 2017   

Dana Fabe named recipient of the 2017 Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Advancement of Civics Education

Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe has been named recipient of the 2017 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education, presented annually by the National Center for State Courts. The award honors an organization, court, or individual who has promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education related to the justice system. The award will be presented August 8 in Philadelphia during the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators. Justice Fabe was selected for her decades-long commitment to promoting, inspiring, nurturing, and leading countless efforts in civics education. One of her most notable achievements was her role in supporting and expanding the Supreme Court LIVE program, which brings oral arguments in actual cases to high school students in various parts of the state. In the past seven years, 55 volunteer attorneys, 63 teachers, and thousands of Alaskan students have participated in this program.


New guide explores the restorative practice of peacemaking in state courts

In recent years, several state courts have been inspired by the Native tradition of peacemaking, which focuses on healing and restoration rather than an adversarial model of justice. With support from the State Justice Institute, the National Center for State Courts and the Center for Court Innovation partnered to produce a new guide, Inspired by Peacemaking: Creating Community-based Restorative Programs in State Courts. This guide describes the peacemaking method and its benefits, and provides implementation advice for state courts interested in launching their own program. The guide profiles state court peacemaking programs in Michigan, New York, and Illinois and describes how these programs are showing promising outcomes in helping communities address the revolving door of crime and disorder and their underlying causes of poverty, trauma, and violence.


Nominate a state court judge for NCSC's Rehnquist Award

NCSC is accepting nominations for the 2017 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, one of the nation’s highest judicial honors. Nominations are due Friday, June 16, 2017. 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 Texas Judge Marc C. Carter, pictured right with Chief Justice Roberts. Nominations may be submitted to Stacey Smith, NCSC, 300 Newport Ave., Williamsburg, VA 23185 or by email.


"Courts Disrupted": Disruptive innovation can improve courts

Innovation at companies such as Uber, Airbnb and Amazon are shaping business practices in the private sector. The public sector, including courts, should embrace the changes that technology brings, according to a new report. Court managers can leverage the concept of disruptive innovation to make justice available to a wider audience at a lower cost while preserving fairness, neutrality, transparency, and predictability in the judicial process. Read more about this in a paper released this month by the Joint Technology Committee, established by NCSC, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the National Association for Court Management.


You know what we do, but do you know who we are? Read 10 Questions

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.


In this issue of @The Center, we’re launching a new feature called 10 Questions that will introduce you to our experts by revealing not only what they like about their work, but what they like to do when they’re not at work. We know our employees are interesting people who live interesting lives. We think 10 Questions will help you discover that, too.



Bill Raftery, a senior analyst in NCSC’s Knowledge and Information Services division, once thought he wanted to be a lawyer, but he discovered that he was more interested in what was going on in a court clerk’s cubicle than in a law firm’s board room. In this installment of 10 Questions, find out what Bill’s job as a radio reporter in the Bronx has in common with what he does now, and read about his brief but memorable encounter with Danny DeVito.


Pennsylvania and Virginia students given top honors for NCSC's 2017 Civics Education Essay Contest

Alana Fiscella, a fifth grader at Walsingham Academy Lower School in Williamsburg, Virginia; Ryan Mendelhall, an eighth grader at North Brandywine Middle School in Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and Maria Goelz, a twelfth-grade homeschool student from Evans City, Pennsylvania, are the first place winners of NCSC’s 2017 Civics Education Essay Contest, held to recognize Law Day, May 1. This year’s contest explored the 14th Amendment, which was signed nearly 150 years ago, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” We asked each age group (3rd through 5th grade, 6th through 8th grade and 9th through 12th grade) “What does it mean to be a U.S. citizen?” More than 700 students from 19 states participated. Read the winning entries here.



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In To Be Fair: Conversations About Procedural Justice, the Center for Court Innovation (New York) investigates real-world applications of procedural justice. A wide range of practitioners (judges, court administrators, and lawyers) offer strategies, advice, and feedback they have received from court users and staff—in their own words. For example, Lisa Falgiano, court administrator for the Toledo Municipal Court in Ohio, gives her perspective on procedural justice, and Ana Bermúdez, New York City Department of Probation commissioner, discusses her efforts to implement procedural justice into the probation department. Emily LaGratta, director of procedural justice initiatives at the Center for Court Innovation, serves as editor of this volume, which is available from NCSC’s Library.


A homeless court is a problem-solving court for handling minor offenses. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses these courts and how they emphasize the treatment and rehabilitation of homeless offenders.

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