Tuesday, May 17, 2022

North Carolina Publishes the Results of their Court Appearance Project



A report on the results of “The Court Appearance Project” in North Carolina was released recently. 

“The Court Appearance Project launched in August of  2021 to support local North Carolina criminal justice system leaders committed to examining the scale and impact of missed court appearances in their communities and devising policy solutions to address them.  New  Hanover,  Orange,  and  Robeson  Counties were selected from a diverse pool of applicants, based on the collective commitment of local practitioners and their ideas and momentum for improving policies. Teams were comprised of stakeholders from across the justice system,  including the senior resident superior court judge;  chief district court judge;  representatives from the offices of the district attorney, public defender, clerk, and sheriff; and others.

With technical assistance support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of North Carolina  (UNC)  School of  Government  Criminal  Justice  Innovation  Lab,3  the teams met over several months to review findings from the court and jail data, evaluate the available research, and examples of innovation,  and develop consensus local solutions.  Relying on their combined expertise and the findings from the data, each county team crafted policy solutions that they believed would deliver a high impact in their courts and communities.3 To contact project staff, please reach out to Jessica Smith, Director of the Criminal Justice Innovation Lab, at smithj@sog.unc.edu, and Terry Schuster, Manager of Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, at tschuster@pewtrust.org.

In brief, here are some findings from the project:

  • Geography has an impact on court appearance rates
  • Traffic misdemeanors accounted for 82% of all nonappearances
  • Driving while license revoked is the #1 offense for nonappearance
  • Younger people have higher rates of nonappearance
  • There are racial differences in both cases served and nonappearance rates
  • Case length has an impact on nonappearance

It is worthwhile to read the entire report to learn about the impact of nonappearance on the public and the justice system and the project's recommendations (including the use of text reminders).  It is available in full as a PDF download at:


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Registration for eCourts 2022 Opens


As we have been sifting through session proposals and ideas for how to make a great conference, we realized the conference theme is obvious: We have all been living The Great Shift.

The Great Shift has so many facets:

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Automating Plain Language


From Microsoft Stock Images

Over two decades ago our NCSC Jury Studies pioneer, Tom Munsterman, ran the WordPerfect word processor language level test against some jury instructions.  He told me it reported that the reading level needed to understand the instructions were university graduate school.  So, when an article identifying “ways that lawyers could make their written documents easier for the average person to read” was posted by MIT, I thought it was time to revisit the subject?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Webinar: What are we learning about remote hearings?


Thursday, April 14th, 2022 03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

Join five leading NCSC experts for a 60-minute briefing that will distill recent NCSC research on remote hearings. Panelists will draw on new studies—from analyzing judicial time in Texas to considerations in child welfare cases to judicially led diversion programs—to summarize critical “aha!” moments about remote proceedings. The speakers will draw together what NCSC is learning about where remote proceedings make sense, where challenges may exist and what lessons can be drawn from the research to date.

Friday, April 8, 2022

This and That in Court Tech– April 2022


Tiny Chat fun is one subject this month
This month’s compilation includes concerns about court order forgery, the IJIS symposium, a court on-demand training program, Tiny Chat on post-pandemic planning, Microsoft autopatch is coming, and the JTC seminar on cyber security, using two-way messaging to reduce FTA’s, and service expansion by Judicial Innovations.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Apple Launches the First Smartphone Driver’s License/ID with Arizona




Apple launches the first smartphone driver’s license/ID with Arizona

Additional states to follow, including Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico



Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Webinar: JTC’s Cybersecurity Basics


When? March 28, 2022 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM EDT

Unlike webinars, cyberattacks don’t happen on a schedule. That’s why you should carve out some time now to prepare for the unexpected. Join leaders from the Joint Technology Committee (JTC) for the second in a series of webinars that will get you ready should your court suffer a data breach or a ransomware attack. Take advantage of this series to get prepared, and plan as if an attack is inevitable.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Quality Program Results in Case Processing Improvement

From the US Federal Court News on March 8, 2022.

“On March 3, the Clerk’s Office" for the Court of Appeals Federal Circuit in Washington DC was recognized for its innovation when it received an award and certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Government Division, an organization that objectively evaluates the quality of government operations.”

Our Clerk’s Office is the first government entity to achieve this certification, which makes it the standard which other government organizations, especially other court offices, can look to as the benchmark for exceptional performance,” said Chief Judge Kimberly A. Moore, of the Federal Circuit. “We take great pride in the accomplishments of our Clerk’s Office”

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

E-Filing Pioneer Judge, James Mehaffy, Jr. Passes


© 2007 Larry D. Moore. Licensed
under CC BY-SA 3.0 https://bit.ly/343Giyq

A couple of weeks back we learned that retired Texas District Court Judge James Mehaffy, Jr. had passed away.

I had the honor of knowing and working with the Judge and visiting his court in Beaumont, Texas.  In the early 1990’s the NCSC had both the Court Technology Laboratory and Courtroom 21 projects running in Williamsburg.  Judge Mehaffy brought a team from his court that was planning on how to deal with a very large and complex series of civil trials.  At the time the plan was to convert the jury assembly room of the courthouse into a courtroom to handle the large number of lawyers who would be present.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Court Tech News and Notes for February 2022


Slow and steady wins the court tech race

This post includes news about court text messaging in Colorado, a TurboCourt anniversary, nine justice reform programs to review, some free court subject public service announcements, a study on remote hearings costs and benefits, and innovations from the HiiL Demo Day 2022.