Enjoy 2020 Trends in State Courts!



Enjoy 2020 Trends in State Courts!

As 2020 began and January and February came and went, the production of Trends in State Courts, our annual journal, was humming along. And then March happened. The coronavirus pandemic and the protests against systemic racism later in May proved to be effective disrupters and led to a stop-the-presses moment.

Should the 2020 volume of Trends include the pandemic and the protests? 2020 will forever be remembered for these things, and Trends had to reflect that, so it was somewhat re-tooled.

This year’s edition opens with a series of statements on racial justice from six state supreme court chief justices and follows with an introduction from NCSC President Mary McQueen that recognizes how the turmoil in the world is affecting the courts. Trends then highlights the work NCSC has done to inform the courts, including maps that show how state courts nationwide have reacted to pandemic-related challenges. (Those maps, by the way, have been very popular, attracting well over 100,000 views to our website.)

The maps lead to the first article, Leading During the Chaos of a Pandemic, by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and David Slayton, administrative director of Texas’ Office of Court Administration. As if the pandemic hadn’t provided enough obstacles for state courts in Texas, they also had to deal with a cyberattack.

“Our training has taught us to gather information, analyze it, propose and refine a solution, and implement— sometimes over months or years,” Chief Justice Hecht and Slayton wrote. “The chaos of the pandemic and the cyberattack have not fit well within that mold. In fact, during the challenges of recent days, the information sometimes changes hourly or by the minute. We were faced with making decisions without all the information, but the alternative was to delay a decision—a delay that could cost lives or cause further damage. Rather than being paralyzed with inaction due to fear of making a mistake, court leaders must act without fear.”

Hoping to provide something for everyone, this year’s 96-page edition of Trends includes a diverse slate of stories. Here are some of the headlines:

  • On Demand: Transforming Virtual Remote Interpreting
  • Access Empowers: How ODR Increased Participation and Positive Outcomes in Ohio
  • The Family Justice Initiative: A Work in Progress
  • So, this is 50: The Gray Divorcees
  • State Courts’ Responsibility to Convene, Collaborate and Identify Individuals Across Systems
  • What Will Shape the Future of Courthouse Design?
  • When the Law and a Judge’s Personal Opinions Collide

Click here to learn more about Trends.

Nominate an innovator in jury operations

The Center for Jury Studies is accepting nominations for the G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation, 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 or technology
  • in-court improvements
  • other improvements or innovations

Nominations for the Munsterman Award are currently being accepted through August 28, 2020. Email nominations to Greg Mize. Please download, complete and submit this form (PDF or Word) with your nomination.