@ the Center: Burger award + judicial excellence + procedural fairness

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Opioid Podcast

Iowa court administrator receives national award

Boyd & Roberts
David K. Boyd, recently retired state court administrator for the Iowa Judicial Branch, has been named recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ 2017 Warren E. Burger Award. The Burger Award recognizes an individual, other than a sitting judge, whose work has significantly contributed to improving the administration of the state courts. This award honors a person who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment. “For the last 40 years, David has served the Iowa Judicial Branch with honor, integrity, creativity, and passion,” Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady said in a nomination letter. Boyd, who was named Iowa’s state court administrator in 2003, will receive the award in August at the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.


New professional development resource for judges

Judicial Excellence
A new NCSC report, Elements of Judicial Excellence: A Framework to Support the Professional Development of State Trial Court Judges, is a first-of-its-kind resource for judges, mentors, educators, and state court leaders who support and seek to enhance their state systems of judicial professional development. The report provides information about the general types of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that judges themselves believe are important to judicial excellence, as well as recommended strategies to support professional growth. The Elements of Judicial Excellence framework is based on the views of Illinois state circuit court and associate judges as shared with project staff through over 100 hours of interviews, 24 hours of focus-group discussions, and follow-up surveys with all participants. This project was supported with funding from the State Justice Institute and NCSC.


Share NCSC’s civics education essay contest with civics leaders, students, and teachers

Essay Contest Student

In recognition of Law Day, May 1, 2018, NCSC is sponsoring its fifth annual Civics Education Essay Contest. The question: Why did the Founding Fathers create three branches of government? The national contest is open to 3rd through 12th graders. There will be three categories of winners: 3rd-6th grade; 7th-9th grade; and 10th-12th grade. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate our contest question about the separation of powers into their lesson plans and have students submit their essays (of no more than 100 words) online at http://www.ncsc.org/contest. Deadline is February 23, 2018.


Permanency Report provides snapshot of foster care system

Permanency Report
NCSC has released its inaugural Permanency Report. The report reveals state-by-state data on key foster care and permanency measures, as well as examples of strategies being implemented through the Reimagining Dependency Courts project to reduce court delay in achieving permanency. Providing judicial leaders with children and family and outcome data, in addition to the court process measures courts are used to seeing, has been a very powerful driver of change at the statewide leadership level and among local trial court judges. Some of the measures found in the Permanency Report include the percentage of children in foster care who have been in care for more than 24 months and the percentage of foster children in the state who are waiting for adoption.


Get the latest news on procedural fairness

Procedural Fairness
Procedural fairness is a field of social psychology that focuses on understanding how people respond to decision-making authorities, such as judges. NCSC research and other information on procedural fairness/justice, which can be found at www.proceduralfairness.org, shows that judges and court systems have implemented practices that demonstrably increase levels of cooperation and compliance with court decisions. One way the site’s resources are kept up-to-date is a quarterly report, “New Developments in Procedural Fairness,” which summarizes the latest thinking and research about procedural fairness, a field constantly growing in sophistication and usefulness.


 10 questions with Nicole Waters

Nicole Waters

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.

Nicole Waters, the National Center’s new director of the Court Statistics Project, considers herself a competitive person who loves her work, the outdoors, her family, volleyball, and snow, not necessarily in that order. Her love of snow can be explained by growing up in Minnesota and skiing on her high school’s slalom team. She no longer skis, but she plays volleyball year-round with her husband and enjoys spending time with her daughters, Lorelei, 7, and Eliana, 5.


NCSC reading room

The legal system of the United States is often out of reach for low- and middle-income citizens. The authors of Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law examine the legal system and provide some hope for the future. Benjamin H. Barton (Helen and Charles Lockett Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee) and Stephanos Bibas (professor of law and criminology, University of Pennsylvania) begin by describing the history and current state of U.S. civil and criminal justice. They discuss how to improve access to justice—for example, through expansion of the role of paralegals, technology, and criminal-case triage. This book is available from NCSC’s Library.

How can court leaders achieve high performance? This month’s Trends article links the principles of High Performance Courts with concepts in the book High Performance Habits and concludes with high performance practices for court administrators.  

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