@ the Center: Fall events + family justice + commercial-driving grant


@TheCenter from NCSC


November 2017 Podcast

Court leaders convene at NCSC Fall Events

 Rehnquist Award 2017

NCSC hosted the annual Fall Events this month in Washington, D.C., where the 2017 William H. Rehnquist Award was awarded to Pennsylvania family court Judge Kim Berkeley Clark. During her acceptance speech at the Supreme Court, Judge Clark took the opportunity to speak about the importance of judicial independence at a time when some question the authority and competence of judges at all levels. The Fall Events also included a roundtable on cybersecurity and the “Conversation with the Chief Justices,” in which corporate general counsels and other lawyers hear from state supreme court chief justices and ask them questions. The Lawyers Committee Business Meeting included presentations on artificial intelligence and the practice of law and on defending courts against political attacks.


The Family Justice Initiative kicks off


The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has created the Family Justice Initiative to evaluate and improve the way courts handle domestic relations cases. NCSC is partnering with the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ), the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System (IAALS), and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) for the 36-month project. The State Justice Institute is funding the initiative, which is modeled after the Civil Justice Initiative. The Family Justice Initiative will focus on cases involving divorce, property distribution and spousal support, and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. The initiative will exclude cases that originated in criminal, probate, or juvenile courts. 


NCSC receives grant for work on commercial-driving cases


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration awarded a $1.4 million grant to the National Center for State Courts to continue work on commercial-driving issues. NCSC’s Research Division has identified over 14,000 courts having 25,000 state judges that could preside over a case involving a commercial driver. Under this grant, NCSC will work with state courts and state driver-licensing agencies; conduct a major case management study on commercial-driving cases; identify issues; make recommendations; and document education, training, and awareness needs. The National Association of State Judicial Educators will partner with NCSC to develop commercial driver’s license (CDL) curricula for state judicial and court personnel education.


10 questions with Janet Reid

10 Question J Reid 2

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.

Janet, a self-described former military brat, really did log a lot of frequent-flier miles during her childhood. She was born in Turkey and moved (in this order) to Tennessee, Nebraska, Germany, and Alexandria, Va. Janet, who went to the College of William & Mary and has spent most of her life after college in Virginia, is the National Center’s point person to serve the National Association for Court Management (NACM).


NCSC reading room


State judicial elections are governed by rules designed to protect judicial independence. In Regulating Judicial Elections: Assessing State Codes of Judicial Conduct, C. Scott Peters, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, addresses the consequences of these rules on judicial elections, independence, and impartiality. He tests the effects of these rules via a “data set that combines state codes of judicial conduct with data on television advertising in state supreme court campaigns, candidate characteristics, and election results” (p. 3). This book is part of the Law, Courts and Politics series published by Routledge. It is available from NCSC’s Library.

Both the juvenile-justice and adult-criminal-justice systems were developed with men and boys in mind. This month’s Trends in State Courts article discusses the different needs of women and girls in jail and in court.

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