Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lippman Sworn In As Chief Judge

Just back from a trip to Albany for the investiture of Jonathan Lippman as chief judge of the state of New York. There was a packed house at the Court of Appeals, including Governor Paterson, Judith Kaye, the leadership of the legislative branch and a large chunk of the Office of Court Administration. Lippman's speech was a model of humility and gratitude -- two qualities that help account for his remarkable success. Like a lot of people, I'm sure, I felt honored to be there to celebrate with him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Great Night in Harlem

Another night, another special event...this time in Harlem. Tonight was the ninth (!) graduation of parolees from the Harlem Reentry Court. I've been to three or four of them and they rank as some of the most inspirational moments that I've had in this job. Tonight was no exception. The thing that struck me was the warmth between the participants and their parole officers. It was palpable how much the parole officers wanted their parolees to succeed -- and how grateful the parolees were for the support. Kudos to Chris, John, Ivan, Kate and the rest of the Harlem team for a great night. I can't wait for the 10th!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Special Evening

Al and I spent the late afternoon and evening in Staten Island with former chief judge Judith Kaye visiting our new youth court.   The youth court had only met once or twice before, so I was a little nervous about what we would see.  The hearings were also attended by the Staten Island DA, Dan Donovan, and Judge Minardo, the supervising judge for Richmond County, so the stakes were high.    The good news is that the youth court members were extremely poised --they clearly have been well drilled by Jackie and Melissa and Sabrina and the rest of the team.   The highlight of the evening was an informal Q and A session with Judge Kaye after the hearings.  The kids had a great time asking her about how to become a lawyer, the challenges of being chief judge and her transition to her new job at Skadden Arps (among other topics).   

Friday, February 20, 2009

Failure Research

While doing research for the book on failure that Aubrey and I are working on, I came across this quotation from Walter Lippman that I liked a lot: "The study of error is not only in the highest degree prophylactic, but it serves as a stimulating introduction to the study of truth." I'm hoping that this is true of our project...

Also, a quick heads up that the Bureau of Justice Assistance's website is currently highlighting our paper on the statewide coordination of problem-solving courts. It is a kinda esoteric paper -- it looks at how a handful of states are creating new infrastructure to oversee drug courts, mental health courts, domestic violence courts, etc. -- but it is also the first of its kind and is well-written (per usual) by Rob.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Community Justice and the New Attorney General

NPR ran a story this week on Eric Holder's efforts to promote the concept of community prosecution when he was the US Attorney in Washington DC. As it happens, we wrote a profile of the community prosecution program in DC, which was published a few years back with the help of the American Prosecutors Research Institute.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Center and the Nation

The Center for Court Innovation is mentioned in an interesting blog entry about criminal justice reform by Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of the Nation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Farewell to Jimena

Today we said goodbye to Jimena, who is leaving us after more than ten years of service. Jimena's fingerprints can be found all over the Center. Among other things, she has played a crucial role with the Youth Justice Board, Harlem Community Justice Center, and our national technical assistance work. I think it was Carol who said at the farewell party that the Center is full of "smart and nice" people, and that Jimena embodied these two qualities as much as anyone. I couldn't agree more.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Newark Community Court

In his state of the city address today, Cory Booker announced his intention to create a community court in Newark.  Kudos to Adam and Jethro who have been working behind the scenes to help folks in New Jersey with planning.   More to come in the days ahead, I'm sure...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lessons From America

Today's Guardian (UK) has an opinion piece entitled "Lessons in Law and Order," that describes what I think is still an under-reported story: that New York has achieved startling reductions in crime without swelling prisons.  The op-ed grows out of a report from the Commission on English Prisons Today on their recent visit to the United States, which included a trip to visit the Red Hook Community Justice Center. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Money Jungle

Somehow this anthropological study of Times Square escaped my notice when it was first published.  It contains a section on the Midtown Community Court.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Community Court on Long Island?

Mark Lesko, a former assistant US Attorney running for town supervisor of Brookhaven, has called for the creation of a community court to address local housing violations.   (Full disclosure: Mark is a buddy of mine).  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Crime Report

I spent yesterday afternoon at John Jay College at a symposium on crime in America. While I was there, I bumped into Ted Gest, a writer who has covered criminal justice for years (and wrote a book called "Crime and Politics" that I recommend to anyone who is interested in getting an overview of how the federal conversation about crime has evolved over the last few decades). Among other things, Ted and I talked about his new website, The Crime Report, which I think is a wonderful repository of criminal justice stories from across the country. And I'm not just saying that because Ted had the great taste to highlight some of our research about mandatory prosecution of domestic violence cases on the home page.