Showing posts from July, 2012

The Courts’ Big Data: What If Only?

Close to 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data are created daily. ....Organizations know this data is rich in information and potential insight, but it’s as if they receive a fresh-minted library daily with answers to all their questions, except the books are written in languages they cannot understand.

The above words appeared in a full-page ad by IBM in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal under the headline “Watson Goes To Work.” The ad touted IBM’s Watson, the supercomputer Jeopardy! champion over two human challengers in a pop culture event in February 2011.Watson’s performance improved as the game progressed as it built on each bit of information acquired from each new clue and answer.Watson demonstrated the advanced form of computing IBM calls a cognitive system, “a system that is not simply programmed but is trained to learn based on interactions and outcomes.” 
The ad brought to mind a “what if” question my National Center for State colleague Jim MacMillan and I have been pondering for …

Animating Court Performance Measurement

We have failed to breathe life into the prescriptions for the performance measures that we exhort courts to use on a regular and continuous basis.

The connection between well known health indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood glucose and our health and wellbeing is self-evident to most informed people.We know that these measures mean something vital and something very important to us. In my experience, the same cannot be said about the connection between such relatively common measures of court performance as time to disposition, trial date certainty, and collection of monetary penaltiesand fundamental justice and fairness (see Ten Reasons Not to Measure Court Performance, Made2Measure, November 19, 2008).Many judges and court managers see these measures as indicators of the relatively narrow concerns of those for whom it’s all about the numbers -- the number crunchers, the spreadsheet guys, and the IT folks who manage the case management system.These measures, q…

Measuring Procedural Justice

The rationale for measuring citizen/court user satisfaction has rested mostly on the argument that we should improve courts on the basis of what we learn from those served (or not so well served) by the courts, rather those who run the courts.Two new developments make this argument more compelling: the emergence of the theory of procedural justice (or procedural fairness) and the finding that our desire for being heard, for having a voice in matters, is hard-wired into our brains.

Procedural JusticeHere is what Kevin Burke, District Court Judge in Minnesota, current President of the American Judges Association, and a long-time proponent of court performance measurement, recently had to say about the importance of procedural fairness (Judicature, Viewpoint, May/June, Volume 95, Number 6, 251 -254):

Better performance is the key to building public support for the judiciary… A court or a judiciary that is as good as its promise is known not just for speed or efficiency (heaven knows many c…