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CONTENTS School Discipline Consensus Project COSCA Member Receives Burger Award NCSC Develops Estimates for Costs of Civil Litigatiom Member Spotlight: David Slayton, Texas Birthdays and Anniversaries

MARCH 2013

A Message from the President Don Goodnow I had the opportunity to join the chief justices at their midwinter meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January. Chief Justice Denton and Administrator Sonia Velez were very gracious hosts, and they showcased the extreme beauty of Puerto Rico.  Sonia’s staff attended to every detail; everyone in Puerto Rico was friendly and welcoming.  The chiefs attended an excellent education program that featured: A presentation by the chief district judge, Subordinate Court of

Singapore, on using the International Framework for Court Excellence to dramatically reduce time to disposition and to improve access to justice. A panel of chiefs from the Caribbean Region, Central America, and South America, who presented on improvements in their court systems. The chiefs from Arizona, Colorado, California, and New York, who presented on their access-to-justice initiatives.  The chiefs from Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Connecticut, who discussed (1) issues related to the creation and encouragement of access-to-justice commissions and (2) some of the initiatives of those commissions.  I attended three committee meetings: CCJ/COSCA Government Affairs Committee.  You can read the status of Government Affairs Committee issues in Kay Farley’s monthly Government Affairs Update.  Education Committee.  Plans are progressing for an excellent educational program at the annual meeting in Burlington, Vermont.  CCJ/COSCA Criminal Justice Committee.  Artie Pepin participated by telephone in support of the policy paper “Evidence-Based Pre-Trial Release.”  The committee unanimously recommended that CCJ adopt a resolution in support of the paper.  NCSC has a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation to assist state courts in advancing the use of evidence-based pre-trial practices.  Dr. Pamela Casey is leading this project. CCJ declined to adopt a resolution in support of a bill pending in Congress that would expand FBI reporting of hate crimes to include hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs, with the concern that this is a policy issue, which is appropriately left to the Congress, not the courts.  (You may recall that COSCA adopted a resolution in support of this legislation.)

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Tweet Button I also attended the CCJ Business meeting. CCJ adopted the following resolutions: In Support of Language Access Advisory Committee Working on Video Remote Interpretation; To Support Outcome-Oriented Child Protection Courts in Order to Achieve Measurable Improvements in Child and Family Matters;  Endorsing the Conference of State Court Administrators’ Policy Paper on Evidence-Based Pre-Trial Release; In support of Federal Funding to Plan and Implement Programs Focused on Offenders with Mental Illness or Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders;  In support of Emergency Preparedness and Dependency Matters; To Establish a Committee Charged with Developing Guidelines and Best Practices for Civil Litigation; In Support of Proposed Resolutions Endorsing Changes to the ABA Model Rules Regarding Practice by Foreign Lawyers; Encouraging Consideration of the Revised National Probate Court Standards; and Condolences to the family of former Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, in light of his death on January 27, 2013.  Many of you knew Chief Justice Carrico who served as chief in the Commonwealth of Virginia for 22 years until he retired in 2003. 

The School Discipline Consensus Project: Supporting Schools to Improve Students’ Engagement and Juvenile Justice Outcomes Millions of U.S. public school students in grades K‒12 are suspended or expelled in an academic school year, particularly in middle and high schools. Research demonstrates that when students are removed from the classroom as a disciplinary measure, the odds increase dramatically that they will repeat a grade, drop out, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. These consequences disproportionately affect children of color and students with special needs. Policymakers and practitioners need to identify strategies for effectively managing students’ behavior and aligning schools’ policies to support student engagement and learning and reduce poor academic outcomes and juvenile justice contact. Although some states and local governments have taken promising steps to address these issues, there is no comprehensive, multisystem approach to making school discipline more effective. In response, the Council of State of Governments (CSG) Justice Center launched a national consensusbuilding project that is convening experts in such fields as school safety, behavioral health, education, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement, and child welfare. Youth, parents, and community partners also play a critical role in the project to develop creative solutions. Multidisciplinary advisory groups are identifying key issues related to academic success, juvenile justice concerns, and safe and engaging learning environments. The project includes court leaders such as Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of Texas; Presiding Juvenile Judge Steve Teske of Clayton County, Georgia; and State Court Administrator Pat Griffin of Delaware. Drawing on research, promising practices from across the country, and the expertise and experience of individuals affected by school disciplinary measures, these groups will reach agreement on recommended policies and practices to make the most effective use of multiple systems’ resources. This 18-month project—supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice; the U.S. Department of Education; Atlantic Philanthropies; the California Endowment; and the NoVo Foundation—is documenting better ways to match youth to appropriate interventions that can produce academic successes and reduce juvenile justice involvement.  Next year, a comprehensive report will provide implementation guidance to minimize dependence on suspension and expulsion, improve students’ academic outcomes, reduce their involvement in the juvenile justice system, and promote safe and productive learning environments. This work builds on a two-year CSG Justice Center collaboration with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University to study nearly 1 million public school students in Texas over a minimum six-year period. Findings from the Breaking Schools’ Rules report describe how suspension and expulsion rates,

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Tweet Button even among schools with similar student compositions, can vary dramatically. It is clear that efforts in individual schools can make a difference and that schools alone cannot make widespread and lasting advancements without a commitment from law enforcement, courts, probation, treatment professionals, and the many other disciplines that affect students’ success. For more information, or to highlight a program in your area, contact Carl Reynolds, senior legal and policy advisor for the Justice Center. To complete a short survey on the issue in your state, click here.

Breaking Schools' Rules: Key Findings from the Texas Study Of the nearly 1 million public secondary school students studied, about 15 percent were suspended or expelled 11 times or more, and nearly half of these students were involved in the juvenile justice system. Repeated suspensions and expulsions predicted poor academic outcomes. Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period, and 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once. Only 3 percent of the disciplinary actions were for conduct in which state law mandated suspensions and expulsions; the rest were made at the discretion of school officials primarily in response to violations of local schools’ conduct codes. African-American students and those with particular educational disabilities were disproportionately disciplined for discretionary actions.

COSCA Member Receives Burger Award Patricia Tobias, administrative director of the courts for the state of Idaho, was chosen for the National Center for State Courts’ 2012 Warren E. Burger Award. This award, which is named for the former chief justice of the United States who helped found NCSC, is given to those who have made significant contributions to the field of court administration and to the mission of NCSC. Patti has served as Idaho’s administrative director of the courts for 20 years. During this time, she actively supported the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission comprised of all entities impacted by individuals in the criminal justice system, such as health and human services, juvenile and adult correction leaders, legislative members and Idaho court officials.  She also spearheaded changes in the court retirement program, which is credited for cutting costs and improving services and was instrumental in implementing problem-solving courts, family court services, and self-help centers for litigants not represented by attorneys across Idaho.

NCSC Develops Estimates for Cost of Civil Litigation The Court Statistics Project and the Center for Jury Studies of the National Center for State Courts have developed a new method for estimating the “typical” cost of attorneys’ fees and expert-witness fees for six different case types: the Civil Cost Litigation Model.  This model incorporates several factors for cost estimates of civil litigation, such as the time expended by attorneys to complete litigation-related tasks, attorney billing rates, and the number of expert witnesses retained for cases.  This model is the subject of the latest issue of Caseload Highlights (vol. 20, no. 1, January 2013).

Member Spotlight: David Slayton, Texas Why and how did you become a state court administrator? I began working in the courts in 1998 as a deputy clerk filing documents in the basement of a courthouse. I was simply intrigued with the court system and quickly knew it was something I wanted to pursue. While working as a court coordinator for a general jurisdiction court judge, in federal court as a supervisor in the clerk’s office, and then as a trial court administrator, I had been exposed to many state

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and federal projects and committees. It was during this work that the job of state court administrator of Texas became so interesting to me. Having worked with Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and other members of the Texas judiciary, I knew it was a place where I could plug in and try to make a contribution. What do you like most and least about being a state court administrator? I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the 3,300 judges of the Texas court system, as well as the committed staff in each court. There is significant commitment in the state to improving the administration of justice, and being able to contribute each day to that work makes my job a lot of fun. The biggest challenge is working in a state with such a decentralized court system. Implementing change requires obtaining buy-in and sometimes moves slower than I might like. That being said, I’m a firm believer that including the input of those groups, and developing change through an iterative process, has tremendous benefits. Tell us about your family. I have been married for almost 13 years to my beautiful wife, Amy. She deserves medals for putting up with me and my hectic schedule, as well as for leaving her family in Lubbock to move to Austin. She homeschools my two children, Zachary (almost 12) and Emma (9), who keep us busy running from event to event. Zachary’s loves these days include sports of any kind, but especially football and basketball. Emma loves to sing and dance and enjoys participating in ballet and choir. What is your philosophy about using social networking? If you use social networking, which sites do you prefer, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or others? I believe that social networking can be a powerful tool to connect and spread our message. I have personally been on Facebook and LinkedIn for a number of years. I primarily use those to stay connected and rarely post much material there. I tried “tweeting,” but since I post so rarely, I have since disabled that account. I started the Office of Court Administration and NACM Facebook pages and post regularly to those accounts. It is a way for us to communicate our message regularly to a group who might otherwise not read our publications. If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do? I’d probably cruise a lot and travel with my family. We are regular cruisers and thoroughly enjoy exploring places we haven’t seen before. COSCA and NACM certainly assist with those trips, but unfortunately my free time at those places is so limited that my family generally enjoys most places without me. So, if I weren’t working, I’d join them in their exploration.

Anniversaries . . . COSCA congratulates the following members for achieving anniversaries in office in December and January: Ted Glessner of Maine (20 years); Perry Taitano of Guam (9 years—also served from 1987 to 1994); Michael Evans Oklahoma (7 years); John Smith of North Carolina (4 years); Rod Maile of Hawaii, Tim Averill of Louisiana, and Robin Sweet of Nevada (2 years); Gail Prudenti of New York and Alyce Spruell of Alabama (1 year).

. . . and Birthdays Eight COSCA members celebrated their birthdays in December and January. Happy Birthday to Barbara Quinn of Connecticut (December 13); Ted Glessner of Maine (December 23); Glenn Grant of New Jersey and Artie Pepin of New Mexico (December 29); Sonia Velez of Puerto Rico (January 7); Alyce Spruell of Alabama (January 18); Beth McLaughlin of Montana (January 21); and Christine Johnson of Arkansas (January 24).

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