Resources to help your court during and after the pandemic



Resources to help your court during and after the pandemic

The Pandemic Rapid Response Team (RRT), a group of chief justices and state court administrators established in March, has been working for months to give state courts information to help them operate more efficiently during – and after -- the coronavirus pandemic.

RRT and its six working groups have produced an enormous amount of work. Here’s one example of what each of the groups has done to help the courts:

  • Appellate – As the pandemic began, state appellate and supreme courts wasted no time conducting oral arguments remotely. This resource provides guidance on what courts have done that have worked well. The document also includes links from states, such as Idaho, Washington and Florida, that have previously shared similar information.
  • Children, Families and Elders – In response to stay-at-home orders in the spring, courthouses in most states were closed for in-person proceedings, creating a huge backlog of cases. If that wasn’t bad enough, courts anticipate a surge in filings in the months to come. This group has produced a document that offers creative solutions to help courts stay on top of backlogs and the anticipated surge.
  • Civil – This working group also tackled the problem of backlogs and an anticipated surge in civil filings due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It will take more than just “working harder” to solve these problems. This document describes 12 practical steps to make civil case processing more effective and efficient, not to mention fairer to litigants.
  • Communications & Funding – To prepare for what could be severe pandemic-related budget cuts, this group examined what did and did not work for state courts during the “Great Recession,” which started in 2008. It compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts based on those experiences that can help courts prepare for – and possibly head off – harsh financial shortfalls.
  • Criminal – As courts used technology to conduct remote hearings, the effort included meeting the needs of people who have limited English-speaking ability. This working group created a document that explains how courts can use virtual platforms to conduct simultaneous interpretation.  It also answers many questions about remote interpretation.
  • Technology – As more judges and administrators embrace technology to get work done, the pandemic offers a unique opportunity to think creatively about innovating and using technology to operate more efficiently. RRT has adopted six principles to guide decisions for court leaders as they integrate technology in their work.

Created by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), RRT is funded by the State Justice Institute and supported by NCSC.

To see much more of the work RRT and its working groups have produced, go here.

Mid-year Judicial Salary Tracker is out

Which states pay judges the most – and the least? The most recent salary data for state court judges and justices has just been released.

NCSC’s Judicial Salary Tracker reveals salaries for judges at the general jurisdiction and appellate levels as well as for associate justices at supreme courts. It also uses a cost-of-living formula to determine which states pay the most (and the least) on an adjusted basis.

In all categories, Illinois and New York show up in the top five of the highest paid judges and justices, while Kansas, Puerto Rico and West Virginia show up most often in the bottom five.

Surprises? On an adjusted basis, general jurisdiction court judges in Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee show up in the top five of the highest paid judges.