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Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System

Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System: Identifying High-Priority Technology and Other Needs for Improving Court Operations and Outcomes

Brian A. Jackson
Duren Banks
John S. Hollywood
Dulani Woods
Amanda Royal
Patrick W. Woodson
Nicole J. Johnson
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 164
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Fostering Innovation in the U.S. Court System
    Book Description:

    Given the challenges posed to the U.S. courts sector, such as high caseloads and resource constraints, it is valuable to identify opportunities where changes in technology, policy, or practice could improve performance. In this report, RAND researchers, with the help of a practitioner Courts Advisory Panel, seek to map out an innovation agenda for the sector.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-9581-7
    Subjects: Law, Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xxii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Within the criminal justice system, the court system plays a core role, serving as the link between law enforcement and corrections and as a check on the state’s power over citizens. In civil justice, we rely on courts to adjudicate disputes and serve as a venue for negotiation and resolution of issues, varying from resolving disagreement over the details of contracts to establishing and compensating individual or collective harms. Although much of the public thinks of trials as the centerpiece of the court system (thanks, in part, to television crime shows), the reality is that much of the business of...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The State of the U.S. Court System Today
    (pp. 5-18)

    The court system is one of three main components of the U.S. criminal justice system, which also includes law enforcement and corrections. All three components have branches at the local, state, and federal levels, each exercising specific jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters as defined by law. Law enforcement and corrections focus primarily on criminal matters and ensuring public safety. The courts, however, are designed to resolve disputes related to family matters, child welfare, civil matters, and traffic and other citations—in addition to adjudicating criminal cases.

    To speak of a single national court system ignores a great deal of...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Court Technology and Practice Today
    (pp. 19-44)

    In considering the possible future of U.S. courts and the potential for innovations to improve performance, the path to realizing the potential of technology and meeting the challenges faced by the U.S. court system starts with the technology and practice environment as it exists today. As a result, in this chapter, we summarize the state of court technology, tools, and practice resources as they currently exist, to provide a starting point for considering an innovation agenda for the future.¹

    As mentioned, this report is part of a larger research effort to assess and prioritize technology and related needs across the...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR From Courts Today to Courts Tomorrow: Identifying and Prioritizing Innovation Needs in Technology, Policy, and Practice
    (pp. 45-70)

    To get to the desired outcome of a better and more effective court system in the future, the first step is to determine what that desired endpoint looks like and then identify possible steps—potential innovations—that could contribute to moving us from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow. Given the long history of courts in the United States, as well as interest from the government, the private sector, and citizens for more-efficient and more-effective justice, there is an existing literature on court needs that this effort both supports and builds on. Efforts of the...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 71-76)

    As the venue for the administration of justice and for dispute resolution, and as the third branch of government balancing legislative and executive power, the U.S. court system plays critical roles for the country. Citizens want the system to achieve its goals—from effectively administering justice to ensuring fairness across the population—but in an era of scarce resources, the efficiency with which courts achieve those goals is also important. The range of participants and stakeholders in both the criminal and civil domains of the court system is wide, and as a result, effectiveness and efficiency at the societal level...

  13. APPENDIX A. Courts Advisory Panel Members
    (pp. 77-80)
  14. APPENDIX B. Courts Advisory Panel Pre-Meeting Questionnaire
    (pp. 81-86)
  15. APPENDIX C. Courts Advisory Panel Agenda
    (pp. 87-88)
  16. APPENDIX D. Detailed Methodology
    (pp. 89-100)
  17. APPENDIX E. Full List of Court Needs
    (pp. 101-126)
  18. References
    (pp. 127-138)