NCSC in the news

Pandemic redefines 'public' access to government meetings

“If tomorrow COVID were cured, would we still continue with virtual hearings? Well, probably, yeah,” said Bill Raftery, a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts.


Expansive NY Bill To Expunge Criminal Records Gains Steam

In New York and in the rest of the country, over 95% of convictions are by guilty pleas, according to data compiled by the federal judiciary and a database maintained by the National Center for State Courts.


Federal Pass-Through Funding for Courts Supports Innovations and Equity

Courts can get started with three resources: the Grants Matrix, the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Tiny Chats, and resources from the State Justice Institute (SJI). Thanks to The Pew Charitable Trusts, my project created a Grants Matrix on the NCSC Tiny Chats website.


Public Webinars: Public Access Services Available for Court Users

The Judicial Council and National Center for State Courts will host a series of free public webinars this spring to provide an overview of language access services and multilingual materials available for limited English proficient court users.


House committee reduces price tag of intermediate appeals court bill

“As in the past, we oppose the creation of an intermediate court of appeals as an unnecessary expense for our state both in terms of its effect on litigants and its effect on the expenditures of our state’s finances,” Majestro said. “The National Center for State Courts has affirmed that the automatic right of appeal exists in West Virginia, so when you hear from others who say we don’t have a right to appeal in West Virginia, they are simply wrong and not telling the truth.”


Covering criminal courts amid COVID-19: 6 tips for journalists

As more U.S. courts introduce such changes — and some courts expand these initiatives — journalists need to understand how they will influence legal processes and affect criminal defendants’ civil rights. We asked experts at the National Center for State Courts, an independent research organization focused on the state judiciary, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an organization aimed at correcting flaws and inequities in the criminal justice system, what journalists should know and do when covering these issues.


Tunisia: Five Procedures Manuals Published to Facilitate Access to Courts

The manuals are published in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts (NSCS) and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), with funding from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the source added.


Collaborative Begins Study of 'Best Practices' in Rural Justice Reform

“We’re going to find the best of the best and develop a framework so other courts and communities can model them,” said Kristina Bryant, the National Center for State Courts RJC project director.


Arizona Supreme Court task force refocuses on disinformation

The National Center for State Courts laid the groundwork for that kind of playbook to help state courts develop rapid response plans before “any attack landed on the front steps of the courthouse,” the center’s spokesman Jesse Rutledge said.


Iowa Capitol Digest for Thursday, February 25

The National Center for State Courts has renamed the Family Justice Reform Initiative in honor of the late Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, who died in November 2019, two months after he delivered the keynote address at the National Judicial Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children.


'I Want This Over': For Victims and the Accused, Justice is Delayed as COVID-19 Snarls Courts

Today, even in jurisdictions where in-person proceedings have resumed, limits on how many people can be in a courtroom at the same time for things like jury selection continue to slow the system. “We’re in sort of this holding period,” says Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).


As some jury trials resume, juror shortages create problems; one court sees a 5% yield on summonses

Top state courts in Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina and Massachusetts have lifted suspension on jury trials, according to information from the National Center for State Courts cited by Bloomberg Law. Other states, including California and Florida, allow local courts to decide whether to have trials.


Justice delayed: Alabama's court system bogged down with COVID jury trial backlog

According to the National Center for State Courts, restricting or ending jury trials is among five of the most common efforts to combat coronavirus and keep the wheels of justice churning. Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hayes Webb said his office closed their February docket because 12 employees were in quarantine. Webb said court last took place in December.


US Embassy and Judiciary partner on new case management system for local Courts

The project is also receiving support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. It will be implemented by the National Center for State Courts.


Iowa court system seeks $9 million to address delays

According to the workload formula developed by the National Center for State Courts, 17 additional clerks are needed statewide at an additional cost of $1 million to process the current overall workload.


Pandemic Slows Justice in Idaho And Around The Mountain West

Depending on the state, certain kinds of trials are still required to happen in person, like jury trials. According to the National Center for State Courts, Idaho jury trials were delayed 297 days between last March and this January. Similarly, New Mexico faced delays for 290 days.


Missouri Chief Justice George W. Draper III delivers 2021 State of the Judiciary

With respect to our criminal justice system, we held an initial leadership summit in late February 2020. We had planned to present a series of “Leading Change in Criminal Justice” follow-up meetings with assistance from the Missouri Justice Reinvestment Initiative, the National Center for State Courts, and the State Judicial Institute.


Texas Courts Hit 1 Million Zoom Hearings Milestone

Those months of testimony were piped in from witnesses' kitchens and living rooms with attorneys double-checking their mute status as part of official efforts to run a court system while keeping people safe during a pandemic.Texas is the national leader in remote hearings, said Jesse Rutledge, a spokesperson with the National Center for State Courts.


Global Litigation Funding Investment Market to Cross USD 13 Billion in 2021

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), a government body that focuses on improving the judicial administration in the United States, took initiatives to combat the coronavirus disease where the state courts granted extensions for court deadlines and further suspended in-person proceedings. Moreover, third party funding during the pandemic is providing more appealing benefits to litigants, thereby creating attractive opportunities for the litigation financing companies.


Pandemic has had a significant impact on Kansas courts

According to a July 2020 judicial salary survey conducted by the National Center for State Courts, Kansas district judge pay ranks 48 out of 50 states in both actual pay and when adjusted for cost of living.


Pandemic Slows Justice in Idaho And Around The Mountain West

Depending on the state, certain kinds of trials are still required to happen in person, like jury trials. According to the National Center for State Courts, Idaho jury trials were delayed 297 days between last March and this January. Similarly, New Mexico faced delays for 290 days.


Courts attempt to balance innovation with access in remote proceedings

Last year, a majority of states allowed virtual hearings. New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico and Alaska mandated their use. Others, including New York, California and Texas, have urged their use while suspending conflicting rules, according to the National Center for State Courts.


Quality Metrics for Regulatory Reform

Our goal is to offer states jurisdiction-agnostic metrics that help regulators and innovators understand and compare impacts along the same set of standards—comparing apples to apples. We are still in the process of exploring which metrics can and should be used, but our process involves learning, revising, iterating, and reviewing with the help of experts already doing this work—groups like the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the National Center for State Courts, and other industry leaders.


Pilot Program Will Bring Online Dispute Resolution Option to Manhattan Small Claims Litigants, NY Court Leaders Say

The pilot is funded by the State Justice Institute and the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation. In a statement, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said he was grateful for both organizations’ assistance, along with the “input and collaboration” of the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts and the New York State Community Dispute Resolution Centers.


Orgs Enter Utah 'Sandbox' Trying to Reshape Legal Industry

Several studies have shown many Americans get little to no help for their legal problems. A 2015 report from the National Center for State Courts found that at least one party was self-representing themselves in 76% of civil cases in 10 major urban counties.


Iowa courts look to cast a wider net to find potential jurors

The information provided will not include the financial information of the taxpayer and will be limited to the same fields of information provided by other sources. According to information provided by the National Center for State Courts, as of December 2019 data, there were 18 other states using taxpayer information for jury source lists.


South Dakota's new chief justice asks for judge's raises, more court staff in first address

A committee chaired by Justice Janine Kern that polled judges around the state about current security measures recommended the state develop a plan for security. The National Center for State Courts has agreed to help consult to develop that plan, Jensen said. The new UJS hire would come in Fiscal Year 2022 after the security study.


Pa. House panel to vote GOP-backed plan to elect judges by zone

Four states vote for high court judges by district to a first term, according to the National Center for State Courts. The other 18 states where voters elect high court justices hold statewide contests.


Arizona Moves Ahead With Virtual Court System Overhaul

From a judicial perspective, Dave Byers, director of the administrative office of the Arizona Courts, said, “Our courts are associated with the National Center for State Courts. Within the organization, its joint technology committee conducted a study around two to three years ago that focused on what courts are going to do as the amount of digital evidence continues to increase.”


Virtual Courtrooms Prove To Be Both Curse and Blessing

And Danielle Hirsch, a principal court management consultant with the National Center for State Courts, told Law360 she doesn't think courts have slowed down, saying many court systems in states such as Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Texas may have actually had more hearings during the pandemic.


'Things Will Get Worse,' Fauci Warns, as U.S. Hits a New Daily Record

California, Florida and most other states have no statewide public health orders in place barring jury trials, leaving the issue to be determined locally based on local conditions, according to the National Center for State Courts.


Sugar Land court administrators earn statewide honors

A Dec. 30 news release from the city said the Texas Court Clerks Association (TCCA) had selected Municipal Court Administrator Kendra Beverly as the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award. Beverly and Deputy Court Administrator Brittany Wright were also recognized as Certified Court Managers by the National Center for State Courts’ Institute for Court Management (ICM).


Jury trials are being put back on hold because of COVID-19 spikes

But by late summer and early fall, most courts had resumed in-person jury trials on a limited basis, (Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts director Paula Hannaford-Agor said). Many required masks and temperature checks; some installed plexiglass barriers and reconfigured courtrooms and jury assembly rooms to allow for social distancing.


Chief Justice Roberts praises judiciary for post-pandemic performance

Roberts also highlighted state courts, which he described as “responsible for the vast bulk of judicial proceedings across the nation,” for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an example, he said the National Center for State Courts gave its 2020 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence to a judge who conducted the first remote jury trial in May.