The chief judges of the five courts of appeal adopted the Strategic Plan of the Courts of Appeal
in 1999. The Supreme Court approved the plan the same year. The plan was reviewed in 2005,
2010, and 2015. The goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Courts of Appeal reflect
the Court of Appeal Performance Standards which have been adopted by the Supreme Court.
The information comprising the “Intent of the Objective” sections of this report was taken
primarily from “Appellate Court Performance Standards and Measures” (June 1999), a joint
publication of the National Center for State Courts and the State Justice Institute. The
information presented in the “Response to the Objective” and “Major Strategies Initiated or
Completed” sections of this report was compiled from responses of each court of appeal to a
survey of chief judges, which was prepared by the Supreme Court Judicial Administrator’s office
and distributed to the courts of appeal.
SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS BY THE COURTS DURING THE PERIOD
1.1 To provide a reasonable opportunity for multi-judge review of decisions made by lower tribunals
1.2 To develop, clarify, and unify the law.
1.3 To determine expeditiously those petitions and/or applications for which no other adequate or speedy remedy exists, including mandamus, habeas corpus, quo warranto, termination of parental rights and other matters affecting children’s rights, and election proceedings, and to consider expeditiously those writ applications filed under the court’s supervisory jurisdiction in which expedited consideration, or a stay, is required.
2.1 To ensure that adequate consideration is given to each case and that decisions are based on legally relevant factors, thereby affording every litigant the full benefit of the judicial process.
2.2 To ensure that decisions of the courts of appeal are clear and the form of the opinion is controlled by Rule 2-16, Uniform Rules, Courts of Appeal.
2.3 To publish those written decisions that develop, clarify, or unify the law.
2.4 To resolve cases expeditiously.
3.1 To ensure that the courts of appeal are accessible procedurally, economically, and physically to the public and to attorneys.
3.2 To facilitate public access to decisions of the courts of appeal.
3.3 To inform the public of court operations and activities.
3.4 To ensure the highest professional conduct of both the bench and the bar.
4.1 To seek and obtain sufficient resources from the legislative and executive branches to fulfill their responsibilities, and to institute and maintain a system of accountability for the efficient use of these resources.
4.2 To manage caseloads effectively and use available resources efficiently and productively.
4.3 To develop methods for improving aspects of trial court performance that affect the appellate judicial process.
4.4 To use fair employment practices; and to train and develop the court’s human resources.
5.1 To vigilantly guard judicial independence while respecting the other coequal branches of government.
Significant achievements of the Courts of Appeal during FY 2015-2016
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The court instituted a balanced approach to the filing of timely-submitted merits briefs. The court instituted a procedure whereby a litigant is allowed a reasonable opportunity to correct a clerical error on a timely-submitted merits brief. This procedure balanced the court's need for uniformity in the application of the rules to all litigants and the recognition that there is room for fairness in promoting judicial efficiency. The subject cases were able to more quickly move towards resolution with no impact on the merits of the cases before the court.
Information technology advances in the Second Circuit included a transition from Word Perfect to Microsoft Word software. Due to the multiple avenues utilized to train court personnel, the transition was smooth. Upgrading to Windows 10 is planned. Our in-house programmer continued to work with staff to develop a new case-management/document management system.
The court replaced the legacy phone system with new Avaya IP Office system. The Avaya IP Office system utilizes Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, which provides a lower cost phone solution than a traditional phone system. As the phone system is computer-based, many features which usually cost extra with a regular phone system, such as call forwarding, call waiting, and voicemail, are integrated into this system at no extra cost. The phones utilize our existing network wiring.
This year the court hired a new director of central staff following the retirement of the longtime director. The new director has brought some new ideas, and a number of changes are being implemented to improve the efficiency of that office.
The court made significant advancements in its eCourt system during this period. The court currently accepts electronic filings of all types and issues notices, orders and opinions electronically. The court now maintains electronic appellate records in all appeals for use internally by judges and staff, and provides parties and attorneys with electronic records upon request.
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