Return to Full Court Operations Running Smoothly; New Working Group Announced

By Brandon Vogel

Return to Full Court Operations Running Smoothly; New Working Group Announced

5.9.2022

By Brandon Vogel

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In her biweekly address, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said the return to full court operations is progressing smoothly.

She also announced that the court system has been awarded a place in the prestigious “2022 US CIO 100.” The US CIO 100, now in its 35th year, showcases the finest IT work around the country by presenting awards to the top 100 companies and organizations that are leading the charge in technology innovation. The courts are one of seven governmental organizations to be recognized.

She thanked the Division of Technology professionals across the state, led by Director of Technology Christine Sisario and Chief Technology Officer Sheng Guo.

“Together, they did an absolutely phenomenal job of developing a virtual court model that enabled us to provide continuous access to litigants and lawyers during the pandemic, and then they parlayed those innovations into a robust and efficient hybrid operating model that has positioned us not only to return to, but actually exceed, our pre-pandemic efficiency, productivity and access,” said DiFiore.

Working Group
DiFiore also acknowledged the Commission to Reimagine the Future of the New York State Courts, led by past State Bar Association President Hank Greenberg, which provided invaluable guidance on technology solutions and innovations that helped the courts navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

In light of how valuable the commission’s recommendations have been, the courts have decided to form a new Pandemic Practices Working Group to conduct a thorough examination of the court system’s response to Covid-19, and to issue a report with findings and recommendations designed to help prepare for emergencies and facilitate the safe and effective delivery of justice services post-pandemic, DiFiore said.

The working group will conduct a series of public hearings around the state, beginning on June 7th at Court of Appeals Hall.

“I want to thank Hank Greenberg and the members of the commission’s new Pandemic Practices Working Group for helping us distill the lessons of the pandemic and lay out a blueprint for how our court system can take advantage of what we have learned in order to improve our services and keep pace with the public’s evolving justice needs and expectations,” said DiFiore.

Equity award

Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina Mendelson received the “2022 Equity Award” from the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts in recognition of the courts’ work to implement Secretary Johnson’s recommendations for a fair and inclusive court system that provides equal access and opportunity to all.

The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness presents its Equity Award each year to individuals or organizations that have made important contributions to eliminate bias from court operations, inspire a high level of trust and confidence in the courts and promote equal access to the courts.

“The Equity Award is not only a recognition of the extraordinarily important work that is underway to help ensure equity, diversity and inclusion in our court system, but also a crucial reminder that our collective effort is being closely watched, credited and even replicated by other jurisdictions across the nation,” said DiFiore. “Kudos to Judge Mendelson, and kudos to our judges and professional staff. Your hard work and commitment to equal justice have earned us this wonderful recognition.”

Systemic racism

The courts have scheduled a virtual town hall meeting to take place on May 19th, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., on “Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Courts.”

Jeh Johnson, special adviser on equal justice in the courts, is the keynote speaker.

“We are very fortunate to have Secretary Johnson’s continued engagement to inspire and guide the work of our judges and court staff,” said DiFiore. “Thank you, Secretary Johnson, for your passionate commitment to equity and meaningful inclusion in the New York State courts.”

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