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Criminal defense attorney Jerry Buting, made famous from Netflix’s documentary mega hit Making a Murderer, talks about life after the Steven Avery trial, how true-crime documentaries help “lift the lid off the black boxes” in the courts, and the importance of judicial education when it comes to the validity of forensic science. 
Retired Maine Chief District Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere discusses an Ebola-related case that attracted national attention in 2014. What would he do differently, and what should today’s judges and other court employees do if the coronavirus or some other illness forces them to make decisions to protect public health?Resources:



Long-time NCSC researchers David Rottman and Susan Keilitz are retiring this month, taking with them about 60 years of experience working to improve the courts. Rottman and Keilitz talk about how NCSC and state courts have changed since the 1980s and who influenced their careers the most.
Twenty years ago, eBay and other retail websites didn’t have a good way to resolve disputes between buyers and sellers, so it started something that has become known as online dispute resolution (ODR). Fast forward to 2019: eBay reportedly handles more than 60 million disputes per year, and state court officials are more open than ever to explore how litigants, using their cell phones or computers, can choose ODR to settle cases without setting foot in a courthouse. One of the leading ODR advocates is Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas, who joins us on Court Talk.
Charles Byers, the chief information officer for the Kentucky Court of Justice, said you should assume you’ll become the victim of a cyberattack. He should know. It happened twice to Kentucky. The first time Kentucky didn’t have an incident response plan. The second time it did. And that made a big difference. He urges all court leaders to have a plan to restore service after they become the victim of an attack.
By one account, 100 million Americans have unmet legal needs, and not all of them are what you might consider poor. NCSC and many partners, including private foundations and teams from 11 states, have begun an effort called Justice for All to try to figure out exactly what those needs are and how to provide for them. “The scale is daunting,” said project director Danielle Hirsch, our guest on Court Talk.
NCSC is wrapping up a four-year project – the first large-scale look at misdemeanor and felony case management since 1987. This massive effort, called the Effective Criminal Case Management Project, is much larger than that one. A team of researchers combed through data from 135 courts in 21 states. Listen to Principal Court Research Consultant Brian Ostrom tell you what he learned. 
Anna Salvatore is a high school student from New Jersey who loves the New York Yankees and the U.S. Supreme Court. Her interest in the Supreme Court, which started during a boring study hall, led her to start a blog called High School SCOTUS that has become so popular that Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch’s clerk saw it and invited her to tour the Supreme Court building. 
Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals chairs the Community Engagement in State Courts Initiative, aims to advance understanding of how to use public engagement to build trust in courts. “We must have both the perception and the reality of justice … without trust there is no real justice.” 
Judge John J. Russo is the presiding judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, in Cleveland.  During his five years as the presiding judge, he has developed a passion for employee engagement, and he believes court leaders should have an open-door policy that invites input from all employees, not just from judges and court administrators. Listen to Judge Russo talk about how he has changed the court’s culture and runs his court like it’s a Fortune 500 company.
Judges may have one of the hardest jobs in the world. D.C. Superior Court Judge Greg Mize joins host Jesse Rutledge to discuss Tough Cases, a book featuring 13 judges who share their stories about the most difficult cases they tried. Judge Mize also reveals his own experience with a young girl, a victim of child abuse, and her relationship with her mentally unstable mother.
These days, many judges – from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on down – have felt the need to publicly defend the judiciary from attacks that judges make decisions based on political or personal biases.  Judicial independence is a hot-button issue, and in this time of hyper partisanship, it seems that almost everyone has an opinion about it. Thankfully, William & Mary law professor Neal Devins, appeared on Court Talk to help shed light on this topic. 
When we talk about constitutional law in America, why do we only think about the U.S. Supreme Court? U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Sutton outlines the underappreciation of the state courts in the development of American constitutional law and discusses his new book, 51 Imperfect Solutions.  
How can the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative help solve the opioid-driven addiction crisis? Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Duane Slone answers this question and shares the personal experiences that led him to chair this important initiative.(Image: Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean)
 What data do you need to measure recidivism and how do you collect it? These were the difficult questions the 20th Judicial Circuit Court in Ottawa County, Michigan had and their recovery court coordinator, Andy Brown, shares the lessons he learned in answering them.
 The Florida courts are in their second year of a communications plan. Hear Florida Communications Counsel Craig Waters and Deputy Director of Communications Tricia Knox talk about how social media helped the courts communicate with the public during last year’s hurricane season -- and other successes that have resulted from the court’s comprehensive plan. 
Judge Jennifer Bailey, with Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami, led her court’s civil division through the foreclosure crisis from 2008 to 2012. In this episode, Judge Bailey discusses how the court’s employees dug their way out of that crisis with successful case management and how their current civil justice pilot project is succeeding despite hurricanes and technological challenges.
For 40 years, NCSC’s Court Statistics Project has been providing a national picture of the work of the state courts through comparative data collected from trial and appellate courts. The project is being updated to make it even more relevant. In this episode, Researcher Nicole Waters talks about the science of data collection and how the project is improving. 
As courts turn paper files into electronic records, it has become apparent to court leaders that a comprehensive set of standards is needed for state and local courts. The National Center for State Courts’ Tom Clarke talks about this project and what it means to the courts. 
 Many people have heard of a guardian ad litem, a lawyer who represents the interest of a child in family court matters. But how about parent representation? It is what it sounds like, providing legal representation to families that can’t afford it, but it’s much less known. Carlyn Hicks, a senior staff attorney and clinical adjunct professor at Mission First Legal Aid Office at Mississippi College School of Law, is spearheading efforts to make parent representation in child welfare cases a reality for Mississippi families. 
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