Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast: July 20, 2021 Episode

Brought to You in Cooperation with NACM

Local Courts are the least analyzed components of the American court system.  This is particularly ironic since there are thousands of local courts, far more than there are courts of general jurisdiction. It has been estimated that they process over three and a half million criminal cases and collect at least two billion dollars in fines and fees annually.

When we talk about preserving the public’s trust and confidence in America’s courts, we often miss that most citizens gain their first-hand experience from dealing with a local court.

This month we are looking at three recent Harvard Law Review articles on local courts:

  • Criminal Municipal Courts by Alexandra Natapoff
  • Kangaroo Courts by Shaun Ossei-Owusu
  • Abolish Municipal Courts by Brendan Roediger

Here to discuss their perspectives on these articles are folks who can honestly reveal the whole story on local courts.  They are judges and court administrators all of whom work in municipal courts.

We are looking at questions including:

  • Can and should we be collecting more data on local courts nationally?
  • Can the problem-solving model, fostered by many local courts, scale-up across the country?
  • Can local courts resist the pressure many cities impose to increase revenue?
  • What takeaways do these Judges and Court Administrators have for the rest of us?

Watch the July 20, 2021 CLAPodcast Episode 35 Minutes 32 Seconds

Listen to the July 20, 2021 CLAPodcast Episode 34 Minutes 17 Seconds

Today’s Panelists

Rashida A. Davis serves as the Court Administrator/ Chief Clerk for the Municipal Court of Atlanta. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia State University. Ms. Davis graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law Cum Laude.

Prior to serving in her role as Court Administrator, Ms. Davis served as a Municipal Court of Atlanta Deputy Chief Administrator for two years. She played an instrumental role in developing the annual budget, evaluating technology service development projects, and the creation of standard operating protocols. She also served on strategic planning teams such as the Ransomware Attack Recovery team and the Municipal Court of Atlanta Improvement Task Force.

Ms. Davis is a licensed attorney with the State of Georgia. Her legal background primarily focused on litigation and criminal defense.

As Court Administrator, Ms. Davis is responsible for managing a broad range of policy, intergovernmental relations, and operational functions performed by the Municipal Court of Atlanta.

Judge Mary Logan has been practicing law for over 27 years as a licensed attorney in California and in Washington. As a Judge, she was elected Presiding Judge of the Spokane Municipal Court from 2009 through 2014. Among Logan’s many accomplishments, she is one of the “core engineers” of the City of Spokane’s Community Court and presides over the City’s Veteran’s Therapeutic Court. She has also been involved in the nationally recognized Street Law Program as an instructor at a local high school.

Judge Edward Spillane is the Presiding Municipal Judge for the City of College Station and has served in this position since May 2002.  Prior to this, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Brazos County for eight years and as an associate for the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski for two years.

Judge Spillane received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of Chicago.

He is past President of the Texas Municipal Courts Association (TMCA); the 1st VP on the TMCA’s Board; was a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct representing all Texas Municipal Courts; is a member of the Texas Judicial Council; a member of the National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices; and a board member of the Misdemeanor Justice Project of the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York.

Judge Spillane has written articles in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, Texas Town and City, and the University of Chicago magazine.  His articles have focused on the plight of indigent defendants and also the benefits of mindfulness in the courtroom.

He has taught on behalf of the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and several national organizations. 

Courtney Whiteside is passionately dedicated to providing the citizens of Missouri with a fair and unbiased judiciary through education and collaboration with the other branches of government, our community and national partners and providing our judicial staff with the tools to be successful in this fast-paced environment. Her journey in the judiciary started in 2012 in her hometown of St. Charles, Missouri as a court clerk then taking her to Jefferson City to work with the Office of State Courts Administrator and on to the Missouri Supreme Court to serve as the state’s municipal division courts monitor. Today Courtney is the Director of the St. Louis County Municipal Division where she continues to pursue providing educational opportunities to municipal divisions and clerks through various committees and educational groups of the state while promoting cultural and procedural reform progression. It is her great honor to partner with judicial partners in Missouri and across the nation.

Bettye M. King, is a Court Administrator for the city of Birmingham Municipal Court serving in this capacity since 2003. In her role as Court Administrator, she is the Clerk of Court managing core-functions of the municipal court. Ms. King is the President of the Alabama Municipal Court Clerk and Magistrates Association. Ms. King has spent over 30 years pursuing her passion for improving the efficiency of Alabama’s judicial system on both state and local levels.  The work she performed with the Municipal Court Clerks Certification Program delineates how critical an understanding of legal principles for court personnel is for the justice system.

Bettye earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Law Criminal Justice from Auburn University. Bettye was a Patricia Harris Fellowship recipient and awarded Outstanding Achievement in Public Administration.  She earned her Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law.

Do You Want to Know More?

Criminal Municipal Courts

Kangaroo Courts

Abolish Municipal Courts

Bearden v Georgia

Williams v Illinois

Washington State v Blazina

Texas Transportation Code 542

Time Marker Sheet

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