Friday, January 6, 2017

Court Tech Research & Training News – January, 2017

There have been several interesting articles, and research published related to court technology topics over the past several months.  In this post, we share articles on Decision Making, Online Access to State Judicial Systems, Evaluating the Use of Videoconferencing Technology in Domestic Violence Ex Parte Hearings, Blockchain technology as a regulatory technology, and a Free Webinar on Cybersecurity coming up on January 18, 2017.

Addressing Inconsistent Decision Making

The New York Times bestseller list has included Michael Lewis latest book, “The Undoing Project” for the past month.  One of the subjects of that book, Professor Daniel Kahneman co-authored an article in the October, 2016 edition of Harvard Business Review titled “Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making.”

The article discusses the costs and problems of inconsistent decision making.  And they “call the chance variability of judgments noise”. I believe that it contains has several important ideas that could be potentially be applied to court and judicial decision making. In fact, one of the examples they cite is the risk analysis system being tested in the Kentucky courts.



Several of the following articles are via Rob Richards at the Legal Informatics Research Network

Connecting with the Courts: Online Access to State Judicial Systems
Michael Parkin & Justin Wedeking
Pages 1-15 | Published online: 16 Sep 2016
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Access to the legal system is critical in any democracy. In this article, we extend past research by exploring a new and twenty-first century dimension of access—namely, access to a state's court system through its judiciary website. Using data from all fifty state judiciary websites, we find that online access is associated with the complexity and efficiency of the court system and, to a lesser extent, state-level Internet penetration and the size of the legal community, while partisan control generally has a modest or null effect. This suggests that practical or administrative considerations are more influential than political considerations when establishing online access to state courts.

Evaluating the Use of Videoconferencing Technology in Domestic Violence Ex Parte Hearings: Assessing Procedural Consistency
Hisashi Yamagata & Danielle Fox
Pages 1-14 | Published online: 29 Nov 2016
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While the use of videoconferencing becomes commonplace in courtrooms, concerns remain about its impact on judges, parties, attorneys, and other participants as it relates to their interactions and communication in the courtroom and the outcome of judicial proceedings. Studies that examined the use of videoconferencing in criminal bail hearings and immigration hearings found less favorable outcomes for defendants and respondents. Unless it is demonstrated that the technology guarantees the equivalent procedural justice maintained in the existing process, adoption of such technology may not be a viable option even when it provides a gain in efficiency. Focusing on procedural consistency, one aspect of procedural justice, we compared the length of time incurred for the court to process a petition for a temporary protective order (TPO), both judicial and non-judicial processes, between when the hearing was held in person and when it was held via videoconference. Regardless of the approach, there was no discernible difference in the average length of time to complete the TPO hearing. The use of videoconferencing did not significantly impact how the court processes TPO petitions either. Potential benefits of using videoconferencing in domestic violence cases are also discussed.

Blockchain technology as a regulatory technology: From code is law to law is code
Primavera De Filippi, Samer Hassan

“Code is law” refers to the idea that, with the advent of digital technology, code has progressively established itself as the predominant way to regulate the behavior of Internet users. Yet, while computer code can enforce rules more efficiently than legal code, it also comes with a series of limitations, mostly because it is difficult to transpose the ambiguity and flexibility of legal rules into a formalized language which can be interpreted by a machine. With the advent of blockchain technology and associated smart contracts, code is assuming an even stronger role in regulating people’s interactions over the Internet, as many contractual transactions get transposed into smart contract code. In this paper, we describe the shift from the traditional notion of “code is law” (i.e., code having the effect of law) to the new conception of “law is code” (i.e., law being defined as code).

Free Webinar on Cybersecurity

Via our good friend Aaron Gorrell at the Justice Clearinghouse

The Cyber Threat Landscape for Governmental Organizations
Date/Time: Wed, Jan 18, 2017 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST
Duration: 1 Hour

Cybersecurity is quickly becoming a top concern for every sector in our country. In this session, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) will provide a detailed, discussion of the current and emerging cyber hacking threats to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments. We will discuss what is happening in the world of cybercrime, current malware and threat trends, and who the criminals are, what they want, and the varying tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) they use. There will be a special focus on cybersecurity issues that involve the law enforcement and first responder communities.


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