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State of the State Courts survey reveals declining public trust, growing confidence in remote hearings

State of the State Courts survey reveals declining public trust, growing confidence in remote hearings

state of the state courtsDec. 7, 2022 - While the NCSC 2022 survey of public opinion reports a decline in public trust in courts, there are some positive messages to be found as well.

Confidence in federal courts dropped from 60% in 2021 to 57% in 2022. Confidence in state courts dropped from 64% in 2021 to just 60% in 2022, and confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court went from 63% in 2021 to 53% in 2022.

Just as troubling, Americans are losing faith in the courts’ ability to deliver on the key promise of equal justice for all. On this measure, the gulf between white and people of color is wide.

However, the survey also shows that a growing confidence level in remote court appearances, and strong majorities believe that the judicial system does a good job of holding judges accountable through existing mechanisms.

The survey also touched on examining ways in which state courts are different from other courts.

According to the pollster’s analysis: “One area where leaders of state court systems can begin to educate residents of their respective states is the role state courts play and how far removed they are from the Supreme Court battles that dominate the political headlines. This starts with messages that emphasize the ability of state courts to better reflect the values and customs of the communities they serve and the historic preference of the country’s founders for state constitutions and state courts as the first line of defense for our rights and liberties.”

An overwhelming number of people support courts doing more to support behavioral health with over 80% saying state courts should actively help find treatment options for individuals before and after trial.

The State of the State Courts survey has been conducted annually since 2014. The survey questionnaire is developed by GBAO Strategies, in consultation with a steering committee of court leaders and NCSC staff. This year’s poll surveyed 1,000 registered online between October 22-25.

Read a comprehensive analysis of this year’s survey on NCSC’s website, along with survey results dating to 2014.

Updated interactive tool provides information and guidance on guardianship options

NCSC has released the updated online course, Finding the Right Fit: Decision-Making Supports and Guardianship, a free, self-paced course that summarizes legal options, provides real-world scenarios and outlines guardian responsibilities. The lessons are designed for individuals who are researching options for an aging parent or disabled friend or family member and guardians who want to learn more about their role.

Finding the Right Fit was made possible by the Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative and was developed in conjunction with the American Bar Association Committee on Law and Aging. Access the course here.

For more information visit the Center for Elders and the Courts.