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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70004 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Struggle for Equal Justice - A Report on Neglect and Crisis in the Lower Courts
Corporate Author: Judicial Research Foundation Inc
United States of America
Project Director: A B Logan
Date Published: 1969
Page Count: 145
Sponsoring Agency: Judicial Research Foundation Inc
Washington, DC
US Dept of Justice
Grant Number: 207 (S.043)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A task force report focusing on findings from a 1966 judicial conference regarding the lower courts of the United States is presented; judicial perceptions of problems and proposed solutions are emphasized.
Abstract: Proposals and methods of solution are based upon deliberations and suggestions considered by task force members at their sessions. Lower court judges accurately defined their most critical problems. The task force suggested that the most effective administration of the lower courts will come when they are unified in a State court system. Establishment of a single trial court system in each State, as has been accomplished in Illinois, with centralized court administration is the ideal method. All judges should serve on a full-time basis; selection by appointment after nomination by a judicial nominating commission will provide the best qualified judge. Lower courts should be courts of record and should not be regarded as revenue producing agencies. Judges must receive adequate compensation and be provided with adequate staffs and facilities. Specific areas of change are addressed regarding structural, operational, and educational reform. For example, serious consideration should be given to removal of minor infractions, nonjudicial, and noncriminal cases as court offenses. Traffic cases, alcohol abuse, and minor drug offenses may be handled by administrative penalty if research supports it. Trial de novo should be abolished. Alternatives should be explored for the handling of minor crimes among family and friends, vagrancy cases, and shoplifting offenses. Training and continuing education for judges should be emphasized and budgeted for in all States. Because the local court of first instance is the foundation of criminal law enforcement it should be a showcase for democracy and American justice. Footnotes, four appendixes, containing media materials, community planning procedures for civil disorders, and a bibliography of about 125 citations are included in the report.
Index Term(s): County courts; Court management; Court of limited jurisdiction; Court reform; Judges; Judicial councils and conferences; Municipal courts; State courts; Symposia
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