Chief Justice Roberts announces sexual harassment assessment

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklySupreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced that in 2018 the court system will evaluate how allegations of sexual misconduct are handled, according to an article posted by CNN.com on Dec. 31, 2017. This announcement came in his year-end report. “The judiciary will begin 2018 by undertaking a careful evaluation of whether its standards of conduct and its procedures for investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee,” Roberts wrote.

The story was also covered in the Washington Post and Jezebel’s The Slot.

Read more.

Appeals court to redo terror case hearing that went unrecorded

In an unprecedented mulligan, the federal appeals court in Chicago decided to redo oral arguments in a local terrorism case after it was revealed earlier this week that court personnel failed to record the initial hearing, according to an article that appeared in The Chicago Tribune on June 6. The article notes that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the surprise announcement on Friday, one day after the court clerk made headlines by acknowledging his staff had “screwed up” in not recording the audio of historic arguments over whether attorneys for Adel Daoud should be allowed to view confidential surveillance documents filed in the case.

Read more.

New budget welcomed by Federal AOC

According to a Jan. 21 article in the New York Law Journal, Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, released a written statement that the judiciary is “pleased” with the appropriations bill recently passed by Congress. The bill provides the federal courts an increase of $316 million in discretionary spending for the 2014 fiscal year. In March, as part of sequestration, the judiciary funding was cut $350 million, a move which lead to layoffs and furloughs and “threatened the judiciary’s ability to pay court-appointed private counsel in criminal cases,” according to the article.

The executive committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference will meet in February to determine how the appropriated funds will be used, Redmond said.

Read more.

 

Chief Justice says budget cuts harm court system

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary that the budget cuts imposed by Congress “pose a genuine threat to public safety,” according to a Dec. 31 New York Times article. The current report continues a similar theme from previous years.

Roberts noted that reductions have created delays in civil and bankruptcy cases, as well as decreasing funding for probation and pretrial services in addition to security needs at individual courthouses, putting both the public and court officers at greater risk.

Read more.

 

Extended shutdown affects courts

As the government shutdown drags on, federal courts are beginning to feel long-term ripple effects. TheJCR.com looks at some recent stories from various new sources:

Federal courts delay cases, warn of more drastic measures as shutdown drags on (The Washington Post, Oct. 14)

Federal courts in Michigan: Business as usual despite government shutdown (Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Oct. 11)

U.S. federal courts likely to stay open despite government shutdown (www.reuters.com, Oct. 10)

Federal Judiciary, DOJ Brace for Government Shutdown (Legal Times, Sept. 25)

On the ground at CTC: Public support for courts is through technology

CTC2013A piece of good news for courts across the United States is that the judicial system is held in much higher regard than Congress and legislatures, this at a time when perception of government generally is at historic lows. The bad news is that the courts are not immune to such sentiment with public perception of them at a 25-year low, according to Karl Agne of GBA Strategies, whose company fielded a comprehensive survey of registered voters to gauge their perceptions of the courts and court technology. Agne shared the results of the survey at Court Technology Conference (CTC) during an educational session held this week in Baltimore, Md.

The number one attribute shaping public opinion of the courts is television programming, said Agne, who suggested that courts would have to launch a $100 million dollar advertising campaign in order to have the impact on public perception that is established through a single episode of the television show “Law & Order.”

The survey revealed that certain realities must be accepted in order for courts to find opportunity to gain public support for restoring funding to pre-recession numbers.. First, strengthening the court system lags far behind other voter priorities such as schools, public transportation, law enforcement, and healthcare. Further, voters believe strongly that restoring money to state courts on a general basis is akin to “pour(ing) money into a broken system,” Agne said.

The way forward for courts to reshape public opinion lies in technology, the speaker noted. The public believes money could best be spent within the courts on new technology to reduce paperwork and create efficiencies, Agne said, a sentiment that by far outpaces the lowest perceived solution, which is hiring more staff. People strongly believe that courts must operate more efficiently, saving them time in their interactions with the judicial process, he noted. Saving people’s time equates to offering them respect. Demonstrating such respect, said Agne, is “an impression that will last.”

 

Budget cuts will create crisis in courts, judges say

A Sept. 4 article posted on the Orlando [Fla.] Sentinel website reported that some U.S. district courts are considering limiting – or even suspending – civil jury trials in preference to criminal cases. The article notes that federal judges believe the limitations brought on by budget cuts will create a crisis in the courts. Similarly, the American Bar Association is planning to pressure Congress to restore funding.

  • Read more…

Similar stories also ran in the Wall Street Journal about the federal courts serving New York City and Long Island and the Pacific News Center about the District Court of Guam

Federal judges call on Congress to restore court funding

In late August, newspapers around the United States featured editorials calling for funds to be restored to the federal courts. As with many federal agencies, the federal courts have seen a significant reduction due to the automatic spending cuts put into effect this year. Judges from 86 of the 94 federal courts called attention to the issue with a letter to members of Congress in mid-August.

Budget cuts in courts devastating, say U.S. judges

An Aug. 15 Associated Press article published in the Washington Post reported that the chief judges of trial courts in every state except Nevada told Congress that another round of automatic spending cuts would have a “devastating and long-lasting impact” on the federal courts. According to the article, the judges say that the previous budget cuts have slowed court proceedings and affected public safety in the courtrooms.

Learn more…