Performance of the Courts of Appeal

Fiscal Year 2015 - 2016

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INTRODUCTION


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


GOALS AND OBJECTIVES







GOAL 6: OPERATIONAL PLANNING



SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS BY THE COURTS

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1st Circuit

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.

2nd Circuit

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.

3rd Circuit

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.

4th Circuit

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.

5th Circuit

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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