Features

The Challenges of Change: How Court Managers Can Adapt to the Changing Landscape of Civil Litigation

October 9, 2018
by Serpil Ergun

The American civil justice system is facing a reckoning. There are real concerns today about how civil justice is delivered in the United States. Faith in the system is thinning. Much of the population lacks access to legal services, despite large numbers of unemployed or underemployed lawyers. The “fee-for-service” model supplemented by legal-assistance organizations and… Read more »

“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

May 16, 2018
by David C. Steelman

The ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice . . . contributes, more than any other circumstance, to impressing upon the minds of the people affection, esteem, and reverence towards the government. Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17, in Clinton Rossiter (ed.), The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 120. The strength of… Read more »

Making Peace Outside the Courtroom: Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Initiatives

October 9, 2018
by Catherine Geyer

In 2018 the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Section and the court’s 21-member statewide Commission on Dispute Resolution pursued initiatives consistent with the National Center for State Courts’ poll reflecting that, not surprisingly, Americans prefer to avoid taking their disputes to court. Examples of Ohio’s initiatives include 1) hosting a statewide dispute resolution conference;… Read more »

Purposes of Courts Reformulated

May 16, 2018
by Victor E. Flango

In the winter 2016 edition of the Court Manager, Kent Batty challenged us to a discussion of Ernie Friesen’s classic “Purposes of Courts.”1 In light of the evolving role of courts, it is indeed time that these Purposes be reviewed and reconsidered. Mr. Batty makes an admirable start at adding new purposes to accommodate the… Read more »

Call and Response: Ohio’s Civil Justice Initiative Workshops

October 9, 2018
by Colleen Rosshirt

A Call to Action Paramount to the foundation of American government is a three-branch system, which specifically works to balance the power of each branch to protect the Constitution and the rights afforded to citizens of the United States. But the ability of the judiciary to adequately fulfill its duty to the people is threatened… Read more »

Courts Tech-ing It to the Next Level

October 9, 2018
by Kathleen Maloney

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Court News Ohio, a service of the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio Government Telecommunications. Technology pervades our lives. We stay connected on smartphones, research everything online, talk to far-away relatives over video, check apps for directions. Courts in Ohio are exploring how to leverage these advances to better… Read more »

Trauma-Informed Courthouse Design

March 2, 2018
by Ken Jandura

Although a courthouse is the place where justice is served, it is also the place where people may experience high levels of stress or emotional upheaval. An individual may be dealing with a variety of traumatic experiences leading up to their arrival at the courthouse. A courthouse must respond to this unique reality through design… Read more »

Addressing the Effects of Vicarious Trauma Experienced by Court Employees

March 2, 2018
by Tiffany Hammill

Close contact with trauma survivors is an element of employment that court employees experience regularly. However, most employees, and even court managers, give little thought to the effects this contact may have on their personal and professional lives. Until recently, the fact that this secondhand connection to trauma could be a professional hazard for those… Read more »

Crisis Communication: Implementing a Mass Notification System in Your Courthouse

March 2, 2018
by Justin Mammen

In 2014 the Orange County Superior Court developed a request for proposal to identify a vendor to provide mass notification services. In late 2015 the court implemented a fully functioning mass notification system, called Court Alert. The court has eight locations and hears criminal, traffic, civil, probate, juvenile, family-law, and mental-health cases. The population of… Read more »

Creating a Kinder and Gentler Court

March 2, 2018
by Janet G. Cornell

Consider the recent focus on the need to change the manner in which courts deal with litigants. Examples include: new thinking on the use and role of fines, fees, and bail assessments; initiatives that change how courts handle cases (civil, criminal, and family); and a proliferation of self-help mechanisms and resource centers for court litigants…. Read more »

How to Use Words to Build Public Trust in the Courts

March 2, 2018
by Erika J. Rickard

It is time to improve the way we communicate information. In 2015 the Conference of State Court Administrators and the Conference of Chief Justices promulgated Joint Resolution #5, calling for the “aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs.”1 Four years earlier, the United States Supreme Court, in Turner… Read more »

Altering Justice: How Court Managers and Administrators Ensure the Right to Counsel and the Fair Administration of Justice

March 2, 2018
by Zoë Root

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.” —Thich Nhat Hanh Under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a person accused in any criminal prosecution has the right to the assistance of counsel. In 1963 the United… Read more »

The Chilling Effect of ICE In and Around the Courts

November 21, 2017
by James D. Gingerich

On June 16, 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrived at the New York City Human Trafficking Intervention Court in Queens, seeking a Chinese woman who was a participant in the program. Pursuant to a policy adopted by the New York Office of Court Administration, ICE agents had informed court security officers about their… Read more »

The Essentials of Timely Case Resolution

November 21, 2017
by Frank L. Racek &

Some general-jurisdiction courts face a vast array of case types. Judges presiding over these courts may be required to hear cases dealing with domestic relations, juveniles, probate, mental health, and traffic, in addition to complex litigation. How do judges timely resolve a docket composed of litigation lasting from minutes to months, with varying deadlines? How… Read more »

Justice Reinvestment: Foundational Requirements for Effective Community-Centered Offender Rehabilitation

November 21, 2017
by Frank L. Racek &

Recently, the North Dakota legislature passed bills referred to as “Justice Reinvestment.” These measures were designed to decrease the number of convicted individuals sent to prison. Incarceration and its negative effects are costly and detrimental to society. Many of the offenders who are currently locked up are not best served by the prison system. For… Read more »

The Risks and Rewards of Risk Assessments*

November 21, 2017
by Peter C. Kiefer &

Predicting the Future In 2015 we asked court professionals from around the world to assess the probability that predictive technology would move courts to become preventive rather than reactive. A hallmark of America’s judicial system is that it is both independent and reactive. Citizens bring their disputes to us; we do not go looking for… Read more »

Encouraging Compliance with Relicensing Programs: Fine Reduction Program in Yuma County, Arizona

November 21, 2017
by Laura Ritenour

What if there was a way to bring in revenue and close older court cases while giving defendants a path toward driver’s license reinstatement? Many state court systems are currently developing relicensing programs that encourage defendants to re-engage with the courts and fulfill their financial obligations. This win-win for courts and defendants was a reform… Read more »