Coming innovations, thought-provoking trends, questions that matter to the court community, these and more themes are covered by the Court Leader’s Advantage podcast series, a forum by court professionals for court professionals to share experiences and lessons learned.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast Episode
Local Courts are the least analyzed components of the American court system. This is particularly ironic since there are thousands of local courts, far more than there are courts of general jurisdiction. It has been estimated that they process over three and a half million criminal cases and collect at least two billion dollars in fines and fees annually.
When we talk about preserving the public’s trust and confidence in America’s courts, we often miss that most citizens gain their first-hand experience from dealing with a local court.
This month we are looking at three recent Harvard Law Review articles on local courts: Criminal Municipal Courts by Alexandra Natapoff, Kangaroo Courts by Shaun Ossei-Owusu, and Abolish Municipal Courts by Brendan Roediger.
Here to discuss their perspectives on these articles are folks who can honestly reveal the whole story on local courts. They are judges and court administrators all of whom work in municipal courts.
We are looking at questions including:
· Can and should we be collecting more data on local courts nationally?
· Can the problem-solving model, fostered by many local courts, scale-up across the country?
· Can local courts resist the pressure many cities impose to increase revenue?
· What takeaways do these Judges and Court Administrators have for the rest of us?
The Honorable Edward Spillane is the Presiding Municipal Judge for the City of College Station, Texas and has served in this position since May 2002. Prior to this, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Brazos County for 8 years and as an associate for the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski for 2 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of Chicago.
The Honorable Mary Logan has been practicing law for over 27 years as a licensed attorney in California and in Washington. As a Judge, she was elected Presiding Judge of the Spokane Municipal Court from 2009 through 2014. Among her many accomplishments, she is one of the “core engineers” of the City of Spokane’s Community Court and presides over the City’s Veteran’s Therapeutic Court.
Courtney Whiteside is the Director of the St. Louis County Municipal Division where she provides educational opportunities to municipal divisions and clerks through various committees and educational groups in the state while promoting cultural and procedural reforms. Courtney started in 2012 as a court clerk then went to Jefferson City to work with the Office of State Courts Administrator and on to the Missouri Supreme Court to serve as the state’s municipal division courts monitor.
Bettye King is a Court Administrator for the Municipal Court for the City of Birmingham, Alabama. She has served in this capacity since 2003. Bettye earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Law Criminal Justice from Auburn University. She was the Patricia Harris Fellowship recipient and awarded Outstanding Achievement in Public Administration. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Jones School of Law.
Rashida Davis serves as the Court Administrator and Chief Clerk for the Municipal Court of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia State University. Rashida graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law Cum Laude. She is a licensed attorney with the State of Georgia. Her legal background primarily focused on litigation and criminal defense.
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