This one-year project will provide state and local courts an opportunity to learn from and improve upon pandemic-era best practices and to create permanent changes to their hearing practices. Grants will be awarded to 12 selected jurisdictions to support the cost of technology equipment and installation of the equipment in at least one courtroom in the jurisdiction, integration with existing systems (when appropriate) and technical assistance to support preliminary operation of the equipment. Additionally, NCSC staff will evaluate the utility of the technology and impact on hearing participants.
NCSC is excited to announce the 12 courts selected for participation in the pilot for the Hybrid Hearings Improvement Initiative. The selected jurisdictions are:
- Alaska Court System, Bethel, Alaska
- Phoenix Municipal Court, Phoenix, Ariz.
- 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami, Fla.
- Superior Court of Carroll County, Carrollton, Ga.
- Knox County Superior Court No. 2, Vincennes, Ind.
- 14A District Court, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- White Earth Tribal Court, White Earth, Minn.
- Hinds County Youth Court, Jackson, Miss.
- New Hampshire Circuit Court, Concord, N.H.
- New Mexico Supreme Court, Santa Fe, N.M.
- 394th District Court, Alpine, Texas
- Salt Lake City Justice Court, Salt Lake City, Utah
For participation in the pilot, the review panel looked at several criteria, including a demonstrated interest in improving hybrid hearing effectiveness, the ability to work collaboratively, an openness to creative and innovative thinking about the future of courts, and the ability to share requested data to evaluate the project’s efforts. These courts represent a diverse group of jurisdictions from different geographic regions, various court sizes and structures, and case types.
NCSC is in the process of matching each pilot site with one or more participating project sponsors and vendors. Together, we will design and implement a technical and operational solution that fits the needs of each site. Engagement is set to begin in November. Upon implementation, NCSC will evaluate the process, utility, and outcomes of the technology and its impact on court users.
In addition to the pilot sites, 11 jurisdictions were selected to receive directed technical assistance. For those courts, NCSC will provide technical and operational support for some aspect of their hybrid hearings process. NCSC will be engaging with the technical assistance courts in November. The selected jurisdictions are:
- 8th Region North Child Protection Court, Gainesville, Texas
- 10th Judicial Administrative District, Ga.
- Juan County Superior Court, Friday Harbor, Wash.
- 11th Circuit Court, Manistique, Mich.
- 35th District Court, Brownwood, Texas
- Eighth Judicial District Court, Colfax County, Raton, N.M.
- City of Victoria Municipal Court, Victoria, Texas
- Clark County District Court, Vancouver, Wash.
- 54-B District Court, East Lansing, Mich.
- Superior Court of Guam, Hagåtña, Guam
- Court of First Instance, Judicial Region of Humacao, San Juan, P.R.
NCSC also identified several courts around the country that are already working with viable hybrid hearing solutions. We will be documenting their solutions so we can share that with others nationally.
NCSC received a significant amount of interest in this initiative and will be hosting implementation lab sessions for approximately 65 other courts. Those sessions are expected to commence in the spring.
- Lonoke County Circuit Court
- White County Circuit Court, 17th Judicial District, Div 3
- First Judicial District of Arkansas Division 5
- 9th Division, 6th Circuit
- 22nd Judicial District of Arkansas, Circuit Court, 4th Division
- Williams Justice & City Court, AZ
- University Lakes Justice Court, AZ
- Denver Juvenile Court, CO
- 1st Judicial District, CO
- Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, FL
- Conasauga Judicial Circuit
- Fulton County
- Laurens County Magistrate Court
- Municipal Court of Stonecrest
- Magistrate Court Probate Court
- Stockbridge Municipal Court
- Third Judicial Circuit Court, Madison County, IL
- Winnebago County, 17th Judicial Circuit Court, IL
- Adams Superior Court
- Elkhart Superior Court 4
- Jefferson Circuit Court
- Madison County Circuit Court 2
- Johnson Superior Court 4
- District Court(s) of Montgomery and Chautauqua Counties, KS
- District Court of Hamilton County, KS
- Seventh Judicial District Court, LA
- Montgomery County Circuit Court, MD
- Oakland County Circuit Court
- Montmorency County Probate Court/District Court/Family Court
- 6th Judicial Circuit Court, Oakland County
- 12th District Court
- 26th Judicial Circuit Court
- 33rd District Court
- 41B District Court
- 47th District Court
- 48th District Court
- 50th Judicial District Court
- 62A District Court
- Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County District Court), MN
- Pueblo de San Ildefonso Tribal Court, NM
- Esmeralda Township Justice Court, NV
- Licking County Probate-Juvenile, OH
- Ashland County Common Pleas Court, OH
- Lake County Probate Court, OH
- Clatsop County Circuit Court, OR
- Multnomah County Circuit Court, OR
- Chester County Court of Common Pleas, PA
- Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, PA
- Dallas County Child Protection and Permanency Court
- San Antonio Municipal Court
- 425th District Court
- Title IVD, Court 41
- El Paso County
- 229th District Court
- Denton Municipal Court
- Travis County Civil and Family Courts
- Clark County Superior Court
- Des Moines Municipal Court
- Nisqually Tribal Court
- Puyallup Municipal Court
- Puerto Rico Courts of General Jurisdiction, Puerto Rico
July 13, 2022
Pilot sites confirmed
|Pilot site implementation begins|
Evaluation period for pilot sites
December 2022 - April 2023
Guidelines/best practices report released
Frequently Asked Questions
A hybrid court hearing is one in which at least one participant is attending from the courtroom using the room’s technical infrastructure and at least one participant is attending remotely either via videoconferencing platform or phone, using either audio, video or both.
The Hybrid Hearings Improvement Initiative (HHII) is a one-year pilot project that will provide state and local courts an opportunity to learn from and improve upon pandemic-era practices to create permanent changes to their hearing practices.
Grant funding will be provided to implement a package of technical and operational solutions that will allow NCSC to evaluate the merits of various systems. This may include funding to support the cost of technology equipment and installation of the equipment in at least one courtroom in the jurisdiction, integration with existing systems (when appropriate), and technical assistance to support the preliminary operation of the equipment and development of hybrid hearing procedures. For courts with viable hybrid hearing systems in place, NCSC will work with the court to build on the existing platform and identify supplemental needs consistent with the goals of the pilot.
There will be no direct costs to participating courts since the costs associated with purchasing the pilot package (e.g., hardware, software, installation, integration and training) will be covered by the grant. There may be indirect costs associated with staff time and all participating courts will be expected to make a commitment to making themselves available to both NCSC and project technical staff. There may also be the need for the court to coordinate with local governments regarding equipment installation and associated impacts on infrastructure.
It is our hope that as part of the grant, participating courts will get to keep the hardware and software used in association with the pilot. We will work with selected courts on the front end to ensure a transparent agreement is reached. Following the conclusion of the pilot, ongoing licensing and maintenance would be the responsibility of the court.
The pilot is designed to test multiple platforms and technical solutions across the participating sites to learn which systems and features will meet the needs of courts nationwide. NCSC will work with the selected courts to determine the most appropriate package for that site.
No, it does not, but there is a presentation taking place at the upcoming National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers Conference in August that will address other remote services, including probation.
The goal of the pilot project is to identify technology and procedural solution(s) that make hybrid hearings possible. To identify viable solutions, NCSC staff will evaluate the utility of the technology and its impact on hearing participants. Courts will be asked to:
- Participate in virtual and/or in-person site visits from project staff;
- Collect and share in-person, remote and hybrid hearing court data with NCSC evaluators;
- Coordinate with county facilities, security and IT staff regarding the physical development of the court space and provide access for equipment installation;
- Permit NCSC evaluators to observe court hearings remotely;
- Provide NCSC evaluators with contact information for court participants;
- Receive technical assistance and support from NCSC staff and other HHII partners; and
- Provide feedback to NCSC staff on the effectiveness of the hybrid hearing technology equipment.
Additional questions can be sent to Alecia Burke.