Category: Educating Court Personnel

Embracing the Future of Online Learning

If your educational agency is like mine, you have worked on developing an online presence for several years, but the educational quality likely has been lagging behind your live offerings. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the silver lining of a “jump-start” for enhancing, or in some cases developing, an online educational program that is sufficient to address the needs and desires of clientele. For a successful online educational program, the three keys to success are Interactivity, Accessibility, and Accountability.

Court Leaders and Coaching

According to Kevin Cashman in Forbes magazine, coaching and developing others are among the top three most important leadership competencies. Yet, despite such a high rating of importance, coaching scores as the lowest practiced competency around the world.i Leaders today have a real interest in learning skills that benefit their organizations, especially in the constantly changing world in which they operate. The courts are no exception.

NJC and JSI Release Science Bench Book for Judges, Offer Webcasts

Science Benchbook for Judges

Judges are the guardians of our system of justice, but forensic developments in the last 50 years have made their jobs significantly harder. However, judges do not need to become scientists in order to make appropriate evidentiary decisions about scientific evidence. Rather, they need to have a detailed understanding of their role in admitting scientific evidence. To achieve this, the National Judicial College and the Justice Speakers Institute are pleased to present a new online resource, Science Bench Book for Judges, to assist judges in making their rulings.

BOOK REVIEW: The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

The Color Of Law

Richard Rothstein’s thesis is that local, state, and federal laws, rules and policies deliberately caused segregation in public housing, beginning primarily around World War II when severe housing shortages for war workers caused the government to build public housing in large numbers where war industries existed. While the common supposition is that housing segregation is a result of people choosing to live in segregated neighborhoods, Mr. Rothstein argues that segregation in housing is in fact a result of laws and policies of the government. His arguments are compelling and are a lesson for everyone in the court system, in fact for all citizens, about why housing segregation really happened, and what might be done about it.

Midwest Region Webinar Available to NASJE Membership

As you know, the #MeToo movement has generated a lot of attention on sexual harassment in the workplace.  In addition, some high-profile disclosures regarding judges sexually harassing subordinates have increased attention to sexual harassment within organizations that support the educational needs of judges. Many of us have reviewed, revised, or revamped sexual harassment training efforts for judges and court staff.  

New professional development resource for judges

Elements of Judicial Education

A new NCSC report, Elements of Judicial Excellence: A Framework to Support the Professional Development of State Trial Court Judges, is now available. It is a first-of-its-kind resource for judges, mentors, educators, and state court leaders who support and seek to enhance their state systems of judicial professional development.

NASJE Mentor Program needs volunteers

By Lee Ann Barnhardt, Co-Chair Membership and Mentor Committee The Membership and Mentor Committee is looking for individuals to serve as mentors for new members. The origins of mentoring can be traced back to ancient Greek mythology. When Odysseus went to…

Judicial Forensic Science Education

As technology plays an increasingly significant role in our society, it has become commonplace in the courtroom. New technological practices and discoveries bring forensic science topics such as DNA, latent print examinations, and digital evidence to the forefront of our court system. With technology playing a greater and greater role in resolving cases, it became obvious to Arizona judicial educators that many judges lack the educational background needed for a sufficient understanding of the scientific principles behind the forensic evidence they see in court.

Utah Courts Create Academies to Enhance Employees’ Career Advancement

In State Court systems around the country there are many positions that have a definitive career ladder but there are many that don’t. The Utah State courts Education Department has launched academies to help a wide range of employees prepare for advancement. Two academies were designed to prepare non-supervisory and middle-management employees for future higher level management and leadership opportunities. Even in their infancy, these academies have measurably enhanced the academy graduates’ management and leadership skills.

The Promise of Restorative Justice: Reduced Pressure on Courts, Reduced Recidivism, Increased Public Trust in the Rule of Law

In a thought provoking session at NASJE’s 2016 Annual Conference in Burlington, Vermont, Dr. Johannes Wheeldon and the Honorable David Suntag offered the underlying premises of restorative justice — while attempting to respond to criminal acts, the justice system itself causes harm, and the participation of those in the justice system is often limited to hiring a lawyer to navigate complex procedures. This lack of participation by those whose lives are affected leads to a default society. Restorative justice, on the other hand, demands meaningful participation and affords an opportunity to articulate our needs.

Judging Science in the Courthouse

This expanding universe of scientific knowledge has engendered many discussions about the perceived need to increase the amount of science based education judges receive. Some argue that judges should be educated like scientists. The problem intrinsic this idea is that judges are specialists in the law, and generalists in everything else. Moreover, the vast majority of judges turned away from a scientific education, at least by the time they were in college and certainly by the time they were in law school. Law school teaches a different manner of seeking the truth than the scientific method.

Report of the Education and Curriculum Committee

The Education and Curriculum Committee is hard at work on a number of initiatives designed to enhance the professional lives of judicial educators. The fifteen-member committee, co-chaired by Judith Anderson of Washington and Anthony Simones of Missouri, made the decision to split into three subcommittees in order to effectively achieve the goals of the group.

Rethinking Learning Styles: Judicial Educators as Restless Learners

Judicial Branch Educators are restless learners. As such, they continually investigate new research on teaching and learning and on topics of interest to courts. They also need to be critical thinkers, constantly evaluating what they know and what they need to learn. Rethinking learning styles is just such a topic. There is much to know about learning styles, but well-tested and documented research goes against the widely accepted view that teachers should alter their teaching styles according to their learners’ learning styles in order to maximize learning. In addition, research casts doubt on the reliability of assessments designed to determine individual learning styles.