- Grantee Spotlights
- Priority Investment Areas
- Grant Management
- About SJI
King County, Washington, was ground zero for the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The Washington State Supreme Court suspended most court operations in all courts on March 18, 2020. Acknowledging access to justice is of critical importance, King County Superior Court (KCSC) leadership vowed to continue to hold matters on all case types, including jury trials, at the earliest time possible.
With adapted operational procedures, new court technology, a public health plan, and legal community support, KCSC held over 300 jury trials, 1,000 bench trials, and countless hearings between July 2020 and December 2021.
Evaluating and institutionalizing best practices initiated during the crisis. In October 2020, KCSC was awarded a SJI Pandemic Response and Recovery Grant to 1) develop a values-based evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness and impact of pandemic implemented new practices; and 2) use the results to inform and/or shape future court policy, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the court, and ensure new service delivery approaches and innovative practices were refined and normalized post-pandemic.
Under the expert guidance of Dr. Brenda Wagenknecht-Ivey, KCSC’s project spanned 19 months and included workshops, focus groups, and surveys. From a lengthy list of new practices implemented during the pandemic, three were selected for evaluation:
Check out the findings and recommendations from this study. KCSC’s experiences may help shape the future of virtual processes and practices in your Court.
July 1, 2022
Juvenile court judges are the most important public figures in the juvenile justice system–their decisions impact whether hundreds of thousands of youth each year become court involved and for how long, whether they are involuntarily removed from their homes and communities, and the services they receive. Despite the importance of these judges, states and locales …
June 1, 2022
Each county in Mississippi contains its own Justice Court where community members bring legal actions to settle local, small-dollar disputes. Court regulations and policies vary in each county, and they can be incredibly confusing for Mississippians to navigate, almost all of which are pro se litigants. The COVID-19 pandemic created more variation as judges and …
May 2, 2022
Participating in the judicial system can be traumatic and stressful. Mediation is a tool used for resolving many judicial matters, thus mediators often encounter disputants experiencing the worst time of their lives. With this in mind, Texas Dispute Resolution System™ (TDRS) began a process to enhance their mediators’ skills and knowledge when engaging disputants during …
April 1, 2022
The State Justice Institute awarded a key grant to the District of Columbia Courts’ Office of Court Interpreting Services to launch the Courts’ Interpreter Registry and the first-ever Amharic Court Interpreter Certification Examination. These initiatives demonstrate the Courts’ commitment to increase access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) and deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals to the judicial …
March 1, 2022
In November 2020, the Family Center of the Conciliation Court (FCCC) within the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County, was awarded a Pandemic Response and Recovery grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI) to implement the Court’s vision of converting what was an employee-led, in-person parent education course to an on-demand, online, and self-paced e-Learning …
February 4, 2022
SJI awarded grant funding to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia (“Court”) to produce a jury orientation video for its unified court system. The video replaced a 30-year-old video featuring actor Raymond Burr. The Court drafted, produced, and disseminated a timeless video to be used during jury orientation to explain the basics of …