NCSC in the news

Courts get creative to restart jury trials amid pandemic

Defendants will undoubtedly bring constitutional challenges to the coronavirus restrictions, but it's unclear how successful those will be, said Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Juries Studies with the National Center for State Courts. Court leaders are trying to balance public health concerns with the rights of the accused, she said. Read the full story on CarolinaCoastOnline.

California lawmakers look to diversify juries

Wiener said the measure has no formal opposition. But lawmakers are under a tight timeline to consider it because they’re scheduled to adjourn for the year Aug. 31, and they’re on recess now because of the coronavirus pandemic. If the bill passes, California would join a growing number of states that use tax rolls to summon jurors. Nineteen states have adopted the practice, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bar Buzz: Mask up before going to court

Before you enter a courthouse, the Judicial Branch recommends visiting the Safe Reopening web page to review the branch’s updated COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. The order follows a national public opinion survey by the National Center for State Courts released on June 24. It found that 70% of respondents would feel more comfortable visiting a court facility where masks are required for employees and visitors. Read the full story on the Minnesota Lawyer.

Face coverings required in all state court facilities beginning July 13

The order comes following the June 24, 2020, national public opinion survey conducted by the National Center for State Courts, which found that 70% of respondents would be more comfortable in a court facility where masks were required for employees and visitors. Read the full story on Faribault Daily News.

Historic shift to 'virtual' Miami-Dade court continues with 1st civil jury selection on Zoom

Miami-Dade County’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit is among the five trial-court circuits across the state chosen to conduct a test of remote technology and report recommendations and findings by Oct. 2. “The eyes of the country are upon us,” Bailey told the potential jurors. The National Center for State Courts shared a link to the court's Youtube channel, which displayed the videos of Thursday’s four jury panels. The YouTube chat included law school students and members of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Read the full story on Local10.com.

Courts to require everyone to wear masks

“Requiring face coverings to be worn in court facilities when physical distance requirements cannot be maintained will contribute to the administration of justice by allowing the Judicial Branch to continue to safely and methodically expand court services and in-person court proceedings while implementing uniform safety measures in all court facilities,” Chief Justice Gildea stated in a news release. The order comes following a June 24 national public opinion survey conducted by the National Center for State Courts, which found 70% of respondents would be more comfortable in a court facility where masks were required for employees and visitors. Read the full story on the Brainerd Dispatch.

Washington Country Sheriff to use electronic monitoring to manage jail population

The committee took no action on Adelman's future, with several justices of the peace saying they want to wait for a final report on the county's criminal justice system that should be completed later this month. Representatives of the National Center for State Courts, which is doing the study, gave the committee a brief presentation on their work Tuesday but presented no recommendations. Read the full story on the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. 

Face coverings will be required at all Minnesota courthouses beginning Monday

Requiring face coverings will allow for the continued safe, methodical expansion of court proceedings, the judge wrote. In support for her decision, she cited a public opinion survey by the National Center for State Courts released in June that found 70% of respondents would be more comfortable in a court facility where masks were required. Read the full story on the Star Tribune.

Amid Coronavirus, a Flawed Guardianship System Can Make it Impossible to Care for Relatives in Assisted Living Facilities

The issue has taken on new relevance amid the pandemic. In a Covid-19 resource compiled by the National Guardianship Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Center for State Courts, advocates acknowledge the pandemic “will make it more difficult” for seniors to exercise the remaining rights they do have. Read the full story on The Intercept.

Chief Justice O'Connor Issues Independence Day Statement on Criminal Justice Reform

It is a reality that the judicial branch, even though it is the most respected branch of our government, has seen the public’s level of trust diminish in recent years.  This lack of trust in our institutions should alarm us and be a call to action.  As chief justice, I am especially concerned about the low level of trust of the judiciary among African Americans. According to the 2015 National Center for State Courts Public Opinion Survey, when asked whether state courts provide equal justice for all, only 32% of African Americans answered in the affirmative. Read the full story on EIN News.

County official retires after 25 years

Morin, who was appointed by then-President Judge Francis J. Fornelli, has served for more than 35 years in the field of judicial management in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Morin is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management and is a graduate fellow with the Institute for Court Management of the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on The Herald.

'Blacks were always at the bottom' : UD sociologists publish timely book on 'Policing Black Bodies' in America

As race and inequality take their place in the forefront of national conversation, two University of Delaware sociologists published their timely study of the nation's policing of "Black bodies." The choice of using "bodies" in the title of their co-authored book Policing Black Bodies was very intentional, University of Delaware sociologists Angela Hattery and Earl Smith told members of the legal community; they had gathered on a virtual seminar presented by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, The National Center for State Courts, and RTI. Read the full story on WDEL.

 

Court needs comprehensive disaster planning

According to the National Center for State Courts, 18 states, including New York and California, have put emergency preparedness court plans in place. The plans differ but generally set forth blueprints for protecting employees and members of the public, safeguarding court records, and ensuring that court operations can continue. Read the full story on Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Supreme Court seeks public comment on justice liaisons

The Court says the idea for justice liaisons came from the committee’s review of a study conducted by the National Center for State Courts funded by a State Justice Institute grant. The Kansas Judicial Branch Assessment of Self-Represented Litigant Services emphasizes the need for collaboration between courts to further the adoption of high-quality self-help services. Read the full story on WIBW.

Texas Attorneys, Jurors Want Temp. Checks, Masks In Court

About 75% of 850 eligible jurors and 3,744 licensed attorneys who responded to separate surveys said they would feel comfortable returning to court if courthouses conducted temperature screenings and sent any visitors with fevers home. Of the attorneys surveyed, 41% said the screenings should be mandatory. The survey results were presented Wednesday over Zoom by the National Center for State Courts and the Texas Office of Court Administration. Read the full story on Law360.

Problem-Solving Courts 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Approved

In September 2019, CCI staff facilitated a two-day strategic planning workshop with the full committee in Omaha, Nebraska. The workshop included a detailed review and discussion of the Needs Assessment Report, facilitated exercises designed to prioritize the committee’s goals, a presentation on strategic foresight by Dr. Fred Cheesman, Principal Court Research Consultant for the National Center for State Courts, and the development of the detailed goals and objectives that would form the foundation of the strategic plan. Following the strategic planning workshop, CCI staff and Nebraska’s Statewide Problem-Solving Court Director worked together to draft and edit the strategic plan. Read the full story on EIN News.

Progress Seen as Guarini Justice Complex Project Moves Forward

County officials were notified about the problems at 595 Newark Ave. more than 30 years ago – although now the cost is nearly 10 times what the county originally estimated. A 1988 study done by the National Center for State Courts showed that the administration building was “functionally unsatisfactory in terms of circulation, structural and environmental systems.” Read the full story on Tap into Hoboken.

Afternoon Briefs: State chief justices on racial inequality; court worker fired for tearing down sign in video

The Washington Supreme Court was unanimous in its comment. “As judges, we must recognize the role we have played in devaluing black lives,” the court justices wrote. Nineteen courts, chief judges and chief justices had issued statements listed by the National Center for State Courts as of June 18. (The New York Times, National Center for State Courts list). Read the full story on ABA Journal.

Questionnaire: Debra Moses Stephens, Candidate Palm Beach County Court, Group 12

We may have to do more of the business of the court electronically. This is what I am doing currently. We are using a program that allows everyone to appear remotely but we are able to see and hear each other. The attorneys who have used this system in my courtroom have commented on how it can save money in travel. I recently viewed a webinar by the National Center for State Courts that showed the various ways other states were holding hearings through these programs in order to preserve the defendant’s rights. Read the full story on the Sun Sentinel.

Vermont Chief Justice named to lead task force on improving state court responses to people with mental health issues

Vermont Chief Justice Paul L. Reiber and New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks have been named co-chairs of the newly formed National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness. The task force was established by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and is staffed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI). Read the full story on EINNews.

New Kansas court record system could expand access to hard-to-reach documents

The Kansas and Missouri records systems are by no means the most restrictive in the country. A look at other states from the National Center for State Courts shows a hodgepodge of online offerings ranging from no access at all to open portals for most courts. Many have different levels of accessibility, depending on the county, district or type of court. For instance, in states like Utah, Texas and Alabama, court records are accessed through subscription services, with startup fees as high as $295 and monthly fees continuing thereafter. Read the full story on Shawnee Mission Post.

2nd Key Data: Bring Objective Science to Mediation

The National Center for State Courts with the assistance of the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution (SDR) is working on “Data Elements for Courts to Collect Regarding ADR,” which will help put the demographics and use of mediation in perspective. Resolution Systems Institute, again with the help of the SDR, has issued “Model Mediation Surveys: A Guide to Courts,” which will provide insight into how people feel about the process and its outcomes. And this is just in America. Academics and researchers around the world are working together to discover what mediators and parties can do to make mediation more effective. Read the full story on Mediate.com.

It's time to raise the age

The emerging adult population also has the highest rate of recidivism. Emerging adults constitute 10 percent of the state’s population but more than 29 percent of arrests.  According to the National Center of State Courts, 76 percent of emerging adults released in 2011 from Massachusetts jails and prisons were back in court within three years. By contrast, the recidivism rate is approximately 25 percent for youth discharged from the Department of Youth Services.  While racism and ethnic disparities plague all systems, the juvenile court’s more rehabilitative philosophy allows for consideration of the structural factors that contribute to court involvement. Read the full story on CommonWealth Magazine.

Criminal Justice Professor Commissioned to Provide Road Map for Jury Trial Reform in Ukraine

Fazari, a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, who has served as faculty for the National Center for State Courts and a chief administrator for the New Jersey Judiciary, provided consultation for the developing democracy throughout 2019 in the areas of caseflow management and court performance standards.For this most recent project, Fazari was enlisted to provide guidance to the judiciary as it seeks to reform its jury trial process. Read the full story on Seton Hall University.

Washington Supreme Court sunsets limited license program for nonlawyers

“The court’s decision was no doubt very difficult to make, and we do not believe it lessens our commitment to finding innovative ways to close the gap between the many Washingtonians who need legal services and their ability to find accessible, affordable help—we are constantly evaluating how to convene and support our state’s Access to Justice network in ways that make the most impact for the most people,” Majumdar said in a statement released Monday. “While this pathway did not reach the results originally intended, we hope this will allow us to devote resources to exploring other avenues of improving access to the justice system in Washington." Meanwhile, the court’s decision to sunset the license comes amid an ongoing evaluation of the program by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story on ABA Journal.

Jury Trials Remain in Minnesota, but concern about virus remains high

“Whether it’s this fall and there’s a COVID re-up surge or COVID goes away tomorrow, your courts are not going to look the same way they did last year,” said William Raftery, an analyst for the nonprofit National Center for State Courts. “That, for many instances, is going to be a positive thing because people can now get better and greater access than they would have six weeks or six months ago.” Read the full story from the StarTribune.

After being re-elected, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Minton sworn into office remotely

He is a former president of the national Conference of Chief Justices and a former board member for the National Center for State Courts. Minton previously served on the board of the Council of State Governments and is a 2010 alumnus of the CSG’s prestigious Toll Fellowship Program. He was appointed to the State Justice Institute Board of Directors in 2016, where he currently serves as board chair. Read the full story from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.

Jury Trials Begin Again, Carefully

"The courts are trying to be very, very cautious and thoughtful about how they do it, in a way that is responsible to their communities, responsible to the jurors, responsible to everybody else in the courthouse," said Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Juries Studies at the National Center for State Courts in Virginia. Read the full story from Route Fifty.

Now Trending: 'Zoom Kiosks' to Breach Digital Divide Between Public and Remote Courts

Aside from Texas, video conferencing kiosks are popping up across Idaho—in libraries, conference centers, fair grounds and courthouses—plus in an Illinois county’s law library and some Iowa courthouses, said Danielle Hirsch, principal court management consultant with the National Center for State Courts in Denver. Read the full story from Law.com.

Court Adaptation during COVID-19 in the World's Two Largest Democracies

Whether or not the incoming caseload increases for all courts, pandemics undermine standard procedures for courts to hear cases. Administering justice while the majority of cases cannot be heard in person is difficult. For the minority of cases which can be, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in the United States has compiled suggestions for maintaining physical court operations. Their suggestions include staggered scheduling for courts shared by multiple judges, social distance precautions for in-person hearings, hygienic and sanitary practices, and health screenings at court entrances. Read the full story from India Legal.

Texas County Tests Remote Jury Trials, with Some Hesitations

“In some parts of the country it may be a long time before you can start jury trials,” said Paula Hannaford-Agor, a court research consultant with the National Center for State Courts. She said she believes the Collin County trial was the nation’s first experiment with virtual jury trials. Still, there are serious questions about whether video conferencing technology is appropriate in jury trials — either civil or criminal. Read the full story from Governing.com.

Texas court holds first US jury trial via videoconferencing

The Collin County court held the so-called summary trial — a one-day civil proceeding with a non-binding verdict — on Monday as an experiment in restarting parts of the justice system that ground to a halt because of the coronavirus. It was over a disputed insurance claim that was originally set to be heard in-person in March. According to the National Center for State Courts, which has tracked court functions during the pandemic, it's the first remote jury trial ever in the United States. Read the full story from NBC.

Video-Chat Juries and and the Future of Criminal Justice

More municipalities might soon join Kansas City. The National Center for State Courts is transitioning 16 counties whose grand juries were interrupted in mid-March into remote proceedings. Much remains up in the air, but the NCSC published a tentative framework for how these rebooted juries might look. Read the full story from the Wired.

Texas prepares for a pandemic first: a jury trial by Zoom

In 39 states and the District of Columbia, court systems on a statewide basis directed or encouraged judges to conduct hearings remotely by phone or videoconference, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from KFGO.

Courts grapple with resuming operations amid coronavirus threat

After two months of no jury trials and courts conducting what hearings they do not cancel by videoconference or telephone, at least 14 states have taken steps to adopt plans to resume court operations, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Reuters.

How hosting a national pandemic summit aided the Nebraska courts system with its COVID-19 response

Heavican says the topic of pandemics had been on the National Center for State Courts’ radar for some time, and he was on a center committee examining how state courts could prepare for a major public health crisis. This sparked his desire to host a national pandemic preparedness event in Nebraska. Read the full story from ABA Journal.

COVID-19 Working Group To Tackle Calif. Judiciary's Recovery

The Judicial Council also noted that Hoshino and Justice Cantil-Sakauye are taking part in a "Post-Pandemic Planning Initiative" led by the National Center for State Courts, the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, which will conduct a nationwide analysis of judiciaries and give guidance to courts on how to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full story from Law360.

House Stimulus Bill Includes Virus Pay For Court Personnel

In a recent interview with Law360 , Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, who serves as chair of the National Center for State Courts' board of directors, said that as state courts look for ways to adapt to the pandemic, a lack of funding has been a major challenge. Read the full story from Law360.

Debt collectors are leveraging the court system more than ever before

Yet those who do respond and hire a lawyer are more likely to win their case or reach a mutually agreed settlement to resolve their outstanding debts. Of the 300,000 debt cases brought in Virginia between April 2015 and May 2016, lawsuits were more likely to be dismissed if consumers had legal representation, according to a report by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from CNBC.

Coronavirus Briefing: Meds, maps and humps

This National Center for State Courts Data Visualization includes heat maps of U.S. jury trial restrictions, statewide plans to resume court operations, in-person proceeding suspensions and remote arguments. Read the full briefing from PR Week.

Impact of COVID-19 on In-Person Proceedings

According to the National Center for State Courts, 35 states now operate under emergency COVID-19 response orders that direct trial courts to substitute virtual hearings for in-person proceedings wherever possible. Judicial authorities in many of these states were required to temporarily suspend conflicting court rules that called for in-person proceedings. Read the full story from JD Supra.

Impacts of coronavirus on US justice system will play out for years to come

The National Center for State Courts created a data visualization showing its work tracking pandemic closures across the country and in U.S. territories. Their interactive map shows Florida is in line with other states that have delayed jury trial schedules into late summer, while some states will begin in the next few weeks or have suspended jury trials until further notice. Read the full story from ClickOrlando.com.

How Debt Collectors Are Transforming The Business of State Courts

Pew researchers conducted a literature review of approximately 70 peer-reviewed and gray studies and performed semistructured interviews with experts from state and local courts, consumer advocacy organizations, and the credit and debt collection industries. To analyze the volume of debt claims in the United States and the extent to which courts track and report relevant data, researchers reviewed data from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), including national caseload statistics from 2003 to 2017 and breakdowns of civil case types in 1993 and 2013, the most recent year for which this level of detail is available. Read the full story from PEW.

Courts to release transition plan next week

According to a press release from the Howard County Courts, that transition plan should be available by May 15, under guidance from the Indiana Supreme Court, the National Center for State Courts and national, state and public health officials. Read the full story from Kokomo Tribune.

Law Day features virtual appellate argument

May 1 is Law Day 2020 and a historic day for the Supreme Court of Guam. For the first time, the court will conduct a virtual appellate argument and use videoconferencing technology to hear the case of Palmer v. Mariana Stones Corp. In doing so, the island’s highest court joins more than 30 state supreme courts now holding oral arguments by videoconference, according to data from the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from Pacific Daily News.

COVID-19 Causing Meth & Fentanyl Shortages and Challenges to Law Enforcement

According to the National Center for State Courts, to reduce congestion in the courts and limit the spread of COVID-19, many of them are limiting access to the courthouse. Sometimes jury trials are restricted. Extensions are being granted to court deadlines, even to paying fees and fines. Read the full story from legalreader.com.

Illinois Supreme Court to conduct May cases via videoconference

The state joins 26 others in using the technology. According to the National Center for State Courts, seven states use teleconference to conduct their business.“This was not built into the way courts were designed to operate and function, but the key component, I think, is courts being a service, not a place,” Bill Raftery, senior knowledge and information services analyst with the Center, said. “In other words, the idea is to administer and have access to justice, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go to a courtroom if we have the technological capacity.” Read the full story from Journal-Republican.

Georgie Supreme Court holds first 'virtual' court session

With its first-ever “virtual” session, Georgia became at least the 13th state Supreme Court in the country to use video-conferencing for oral arguments, according to the National Center for State Courts. Courts in Florida, Idaho, Wisconsin and Wyoming will soon follow. Read the full story from AJC.

The Wired Courtroom: Online justice During the Pandemic

It will continue to be a challenge, said California Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, to “strike a balance between defendants’ right to justice and safety in the jail.” She said lower-court judges need more “real-time data” on the changing conditions of “contagion in the jails.” Speakers noted that the National Center for State Courts has created a website that offers a state-by-state look at how courts are responding to the pandemic. Read the full article from The Crime Report.

A Mistaken Motion

Note that the Florida Courts have entered a posture of "watch and prepare," as reported by the National Center for State Courts (in a recent but undated post). Florida is not alone, that article outlines a variety of efforts underway in judicial branch settings across the country. This notes that America has "more than 22 million U.S. residents (who) have contracted influenza" this season. The effects of viruses can be significant, and preparedness is worthwhile in the broadest contexts. Read the full story from WorkersCompensation.com.

Initial Court Responses to COVID-19 Leave a Patchwork of Policies

State courts have also responded rapidly to the pandemic. By the end of March, every state judiciary in the country had issued a response to Covid-19. As of April 14, 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are restricting or suspending most in-person proceedings, while 16 states have given local jurisdictions the option to implement similar measures, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from BrennanCenter.org.

Mary McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts, on serving justice during COVID-19

Thomson Reuters spoke recently to Mary McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts, about how courts are considering the needs of staff, litigants and the public as they adapt to the crisis and develop recovery plans. As she helps state courts navigate the outbreak, McQueen says she is guided by Alexander Hamilton’s remark in Federalist No. 17 that nothing contributes more to the public’s respect and esteem for government than the effective administration of justice. Read the full story from Thomas Reuters.

COVID-19 Update: Litigation, Incarceration, and Investigation in the Time of COVID-19

The National Center for State Courts has compiled a comprehensive website with links to each state court relative to COVID orders. Additionally, the US Judicial Conference has temporarily approved the use of video and teleconferencing of certain criminal proceedings and teleconferencing for civil proceedings. Read the full story from JD Supra.

Court closures during COVID-19 cause background check concerns

According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), online court records are not the same as background checks. "For specific information related to a particular case, you must visit or contact the court in which the action was filed," NCSC states on its website. The organization also cautioned that in some states the use of information obtained from an online court record "to deny a person employment, deny a rental agreement, or take any other adverse action against a person is prohibited by law." Read the full story from HR Drive.
New Mexicans, especially in rural areas, see a gap for justice access

At the same time, Justice Nakamura was in the Roundhouse to ask for money to expand the number of judgeships in the state, which was one of the judiciary's priorities from this year's session. A workload study conducted by the National Center for State Courts showed a need of about 17 judgeships. The state appropriated money to add five of those positions this year. Read the full story from the Santa Fe Reporter.

Court Notices Carry New Risks Amid Virus

In-person court hearings have been suspended in 34 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Center for State Courts, which is tracking the information. Local courts have the option to close in the other states. Moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures have also been declared in many places. Read the full story from Bloomberg Law.

Counties clearing jail space in COVID-19 crisis

Helder has said the county will need to add more space, and he presented a $38 million proposal to the Quorum Court in 2018. The county is waiting for a study being done by the National Center for State Courts on the Detention Center and the criminal justice system before taking up the expansion proposal again. The study is expected to be completed in June. Read the full story from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Miami’s first Zoom crime court hearing: teacher accused of sex with student wants out of jail

Four states, plus Puerto Rico, have mandated the use of virtual hearings, according to the National Center for State Courts, which has been tracking the effects of the pandemic. Nineteen states, including Florida, have issued orders to use them whenever possible. Another 13 have urged the use of virtual hearings, and suspended administrative rules that might have prohibited their use. Read the full story from the Miami Herald.

Access To FL Courts During COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the National Center for State Courts, 19 states, including Florida (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) are restricting or suspending in-person court proceedings. Read the full story from lawyers.com.

Courts Practice Social Distance, Suspend Trials Due To Coronavirus Threat

States have paused trials or at least begun to restrict court visitors. Earlier this week, the National Center for State Courts reported that Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri and Virginia had paused jury trials or limiting court activities. New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts have also paused many jury trials. The four federal courthouses in the Northern District of California were the first mass courts to close on the federal level in response to COVID-19. Read the full story from Haute Living.

'Petri Dish' Courts Struggle With Virus, 10-Minute Trials

42 states and the District of Columbia have ordered restrictions or suspension of jury trials at the state or local level, according to the National Center for State Courts. Many trial and hearing postponements are for 30 days, while some state appellate courts are halting arguments until May. Read the full story on Bloomberg World.

A slew of federal and state courts suspend trials or close for coronavirus threat

Dozens of states are also pausing trials statewide or restricting court visitors, according to the National Center for State Courts, which is keeping a tally. The organization reported on Tuesday that seven additional states had issued or expanded orders pausing jury trials or restricting court functions in just the last 18 hours. Read the full story from ABA Journal.

Wall Street’s Court Halts New Jury Trials Over Virus

Such precautions are certain to put pressure on the U.S. legal system. About 150,000 criminal and civil trials occur each year across state and federal courts, according to the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. Trials that use jurors, who are selected from a larger pool of area residents summoned to courthouses, will be particularly affected. Read the full story from Advisor Hub.

ABA Assembles Task Force On COVID-19 Legal Needs

The group is slated to include experts on disaster response, health law, insurance, and the legal needs of families, according to the ABA announcement. Representatives from the National Center for State Courts, the National Association of Bar Executives and the National Conference of Bar Presidents will participate. Read the full story from Law 360.

West Virginia Supreme Court Issues Protocol on Coronavirus

This plan was carefully crafted based on guidance received from federal and state health officials, information obtained from the National Center for State Courts, and examples found in other jurisdictions. Read the full story from WVVA.

Coronavirus Delays Court Proceedings Around the World

Such precautions are certain to put great pressure on the U.S. legal system. About 150,000 criminal and civil trials occur each year across state and federal courts, according to the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. Trials that use jurors, who are selected from a larger pool summoned to attend selections, will be particularly affected. Read the full story from Claims Journal.

Protections for vulnerable Pa. seniors lag, reforms to guardianship system ‘stuck’

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” said Kathryn Holt, a senior court research analyst for the National Center for State Courts. From a national perspective, Holt said, she has been “very impressed” with Pennsylvania’s progress. Read the full story from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Remote Court Appearances Indispensable During Times of Public Health Concerns

While a variety of approaches can be taken to maintain access, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) conducted a Facebook preparedness session on March 5 and the utility of telephonic and remote appearances was specifically noted. Read the full story from Yahoo! Finance.

Coughing jurors in coronavirus era will worsen delays for US trials

About 150,000 criminal and civil trials occur each year across state and federal courts, according to the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. While not all trials use juries, those that do are culled from dozens of citizens summoned randomly to the courthouse to serve for a day, a week or longer. That system will be pressured by the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Read the full story from Herald-Mail Media.

Virus Complicates Jury Trials as Courts Seek to Limit Spread

About 150,000 criminal and civil trials occur each year across state and federal courts, according to the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts. While not all trials use juries, those that do are culled from dozens of citizens summoned randomly to the courthouse to serve for a day, a week or longer. That system will be pressured by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Read the full story from Bloomberg Law.

Virus' Spread Has Courts Bracing For Quarantine Fights

The National Center for State Courts is urging judiciaries around the country to brush up on their public health laws and to prepare. It's touting a 2016 handbook meant as a template for state court systems as they devise both operational plans and ways to bring judges up to date on arcane quarantine laws that may date back centuries. Read the full story from Law 360.

Will Law Firm Ownership Destroy the Legal Profession? The Industry Is at Odds

Even if California’s justices throw up a roadblock, high courts elsewhere in the country, which have the ultimate authority on regulating legal practice in each state, are attuned to the issue. Laurel Terry, a professor at the Penn State University Dickinson Law School, says conversations have been going on for several years at the National Center for State Courts and the Conference of Chief Justices. Read the full story from Law.com.

15 things judges said in 2019 that got them in trouble (INFOGRAPHIC)

Last year resulted in some questionable judicial behavior. The National Center for State Courts Center for Judicial Ethics released a roundup of some of the worst behavior in its 2019 Judicial Conduct Report. Read the full story from the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Bill would nearly double Maine’s governor’s pay, from $70,000 to $135,000

Maine is ranked 51st among the states and the District of Columbia in pay for general jurisdiction judges – those who handle most of the legal cases in state district and superior courts – with an average salary of $113,000 a year when adjusted for the local cost-of-living index, according to a report by the National Center for State Courts. The median pay nationally for that category is $155,000, and Tennessee pays the most, an average of $194,877. Read the full story from Sun Journal.

After three years, House Judiciary advances intermediate courts bill

A study by the National Center for State Courts followed cases tried in 2005. The study followed their appeals in state courts from 2005 through 2010. It showed that 95% of civil appeals at the state level were resolved in 546 days and 95% of criminal cases were disposed in 818 days. Read the full story from the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Washington County officials say jail release program worthwhile

Washington County is working on a study of it’s criminal justice system to reduce crowding in the jail. The county has hired the National Center for State Courts to do the study, Sheriff Tim Helder said Wednesday staff from the center have been at the Sheriff’s Office and jail interviewing his staff in the past week. A report from the Center is expected by June, according to county officials. Read the full story from Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

State Of Judiciary Speech Highlights Cybersecurity, Mental Health

In 2018, the National Center for State Courts selected the Dougherty County Law Library as a pilot legal self-help project, one of seven states chosen to advance the goal of providing civil justice for all. Read the full story from GPB.

Filings in New Jersey Courts Continue Long-Term Downturn in Caseload, 2019 Stats Show

New Jersey is in step with other state courts around the nation that are experiencing a decline in the number of cases. The National Center for State Courts has documented a “pervasive and persistent” decline in caseloads in state courts nationwide that started in 2008. Read the full story from Law.com.

I was a juror in the Roger Stone trial. Attacking our foreperson undermines our service.

Elected officials have no business attacking citizens for performing their civic duty. The jury system is rooted in English common law and enshrined in both Article III and the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution; it is fundamental to the American system of justice. All of us need to be concerned when this process is attacked. More than 1.5 million Americans are impaneled on juries every year, according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Washington Post.

Burnout on the Bench: Judges Grapple With Stress, Fatigue

Organizations, such as the National Center for State Courts, appear to be taking note. The group publishes a Judicial Stress Resource Guide that addresses the link between budget cuts and low morale among court employees; a connection between obesity and judicial stress; burnout, emotional labor; misconduct among jurists; substance abuse; personal strain and other issues. Read the full story from Law.com.

Judiciary budget includes salary hikes and increase, but New Mexico’s judge pay remains low

This year, the state ranked 48 out of 55 in pay among supreme courts and district courts in the nation and its territories, according to a study published in January by the National Center for State Courts. New Mexico is also the lowest by far in the Mountain Region, where Colorado and Utah are near the top. Read the full story from the Santa Fe Reporter.

Under the Radar: House bill aims to protect 'vulnerable' road travelers

There were 65 crashes in 2018 reported to police involving those traveling by horse-and-buggy in Pennsylvania, said Alexis Campbell, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman. Those crashes included two fatalities – one occupant of a horse-and-buggy and one motorcyclist who collided with a horse-and-buggy, she said.Similar bills have been passed in at least a dozen states in recent years, though who’s considered a vulnerable user “varies widely depending on the state,” according to the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Tribune-Democrat.

If passed, bill would give judges big pay raise

Sen Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, is sponsoring Senate Bill 280. For years judges in New Mexico have been at the bottom in pay when compared to other states. A recent survey conducted by the National Center for State Courts showed that all levels of judges in New Mexico ranked 40th or lower when compared to other states. Read the full story from KOAT News.

Drug Courts On The Rise In Tennessee

One event he attended in Washington D.C. was an awards ceremony for 4th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Duane Slone, who was named the 2019 recipient of the National Center for State Courts’ prestigious William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. Judge Slone was recognized for his pioneering efforts to combat addiction through innovative strategies like the Tennessee Recovery Oriented Compliance Strategy docket, which has seen 110 neonatal abstinence syndrome-free births by program participants in recent years. Read the full story from The Chagganoogan.

The Kobe Bryant case: When the circus came to the Vail Valley

Bryant apologized to his accuser, who had sued him in federal court. The National Center for State Courts says only about 3% of civil cases make it to trial. This one didn’t either. Bryant and his accuser settled out of court in March 2005 and went on with their lives. Read the full story from Vail Daily.

New Mexico chief justice urges lawmakers for funding

According to a study by the nonprofit National Center for State Courts, New Mexico could use some 21 more district judges to handle the workload. Read the full story from the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Court security major thrust of AOC budget request

"There is a need for 20.9 judges to handle the increasingly complex and demand workload of district courts across New Mexico, according to a study by the National Center for State Courts," Massey pointed out. Lawmakers last created new judges in 2014. Read the full story from Ruidoso news.

The next clerk of Cook County courts will inherit a mess—but some say it's fixable

Bill Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Williamsburg, Va., cautioned that there are no model courts, and that California's and Arizona's court structures differ from Cook's in key ways. What matters more is criminal justice stakeholders all rowing in the same direction. "If somebody with the best of intentions comes in and tries real hard, you still might not get full access to justice, but you're in a much better circumstance if everyone's going in trying." Read the full story in Crain's Chicago Business.

Chief justice: Judiciary will go back to the basics

The chief justice also briefly touched on a National Center for State Courts report on the trial court’s calendar system and case flow proposals that he said has been a “source of great consternation” among judges. Read the full story from The Guam Daily Post.

Luther J. Battiste, III, sworn in as National president of the American Board of Trial Advocates

As a board member for the National Center for State Courts, Mr. Battiste said that working closely with judges nationwide provided a perspective into the challenges faced by the Third Branch. Read the full story from Yahoo! Finance.

Changes ahead for R.I.’s aging Supreme Court?

Mandatory judicial retirement ages are a fraught subject nationally, with opponents arguing that they are unfair, since the two other branches of government don’t face similar limitations, according to William E. Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts. Proponents counter that age caps create opportunities for younger lawyers to make their mark. Read the full story from the Providence Journal.

Groundbreaking Implicit Bias Project Takes Shape in Dallas County Civil Courts

The National Center for State Courts had already done a study to evaluate Judge Bennett’s jury instruction, because there was a concern that it might anger jurors and have a reverse, negative impact. They attempted to measure its efficacy in a simulated environment, not with an actual jury, but the results were inconclusive. Judge Bennett took that as a good sign—no harm, no foul. Read the full story from D Magazine.

Acting chief justice: Judicial branch wants more investment in rural courts, farmers, translators

This request is part of a five-year plan to bring in new judges to address the judicial branch's workload, which is currently 30 judges short of where it should be, according to a workload formula by the National Center for State Courts. Read the full story from the Des Moines Register.

One R.I. court staff on self-quarantine as state and federal judiciary monitor virus

The chief judicial officers and administrators of all six courts were briefed Friday and were provided with copies of or a link to an emergency response “benchbook” from the National Center for State Courts and the State Justice Institute, which provides guidance on court operations, Berke said. Read the full story from the Providence Journal.