Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast Episode: December 21, 2021

Brought to You in Cooperation with NACM

The preliminary results from NACM’s Voice of the Profession survey have revealed this year’s number one issue: Public Confidence in the Courts.   Over 95% of those responding reported that they either agreed or strongly agreed that NACM needs to advocate on behalf of the courts regarding the public’s confidence in our court system.  This result is no surprise.  The 2021 National Center for State Courts “State of the Courts” survey conducted this past October reported that public trust and confidence in the courts has sunk to a new low: 64%. 

A common response to this issue is “we need more public outreach.”  If we could just explain what we do and why we did it, the community would immediately embrace the court’s central role in society.  This has been disparagingly referred to as the “to know us is to love us” approach.  The community may actually know more about the courts than we think and yet remain less than satisfied. Here are three examples of why the public might have a negative impression of courts:

  1. Many folks, including our fellow court professionals, think that courts are too complicated, particularly for self-represented litigants.
  2. Excessive fines, surcharges, and user fees that courts pile on can hobble defendants guilty of relatively minor crimes.
  3. Courts can exhibit subtle yet systemic bias against people of color, the mentally ill, and the poor.

Some of the questions we will explore this month include:

  • Why do we think the public’s confidence in the courts is declining?
  • What can and should courts do about this lack of confidence?
  • What is NACM’s role in addressing this challenge?
  • What advice do these court professionals have for the rest of us?

Watch the December 21, 2021, CLAPodcast Episode 24 Minutes 29 Seconds

Listen to the December 21, 2021, CLAPodcast Episode 23 Minutes 25 Seconds

Leave a question or comment about the episode at

Today’s Panelists:

Danielle Trujillo is the Court Administrator for the Municipal Court in Littleton, Colorado. Danielle is an innovative public safety professional with an exceptional ability to research and analyze complex issues and provide actionable conclusions. Through problem solving and critical thinking she utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to bridge gaps in information and processes. She started her career in restorative justice and loves the ability to directly serve her community through local government.

Greg Lambard is the Trial Court Administrator for the Superior Court in Middlesex Vicinage, New Jersey. Greg began his career with the State of New Jersey in 1991 after obtaining a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland and a MA in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. He has served in the State Judiciary in various administrative roles and as a researcher/statistician. Additionally, he served two years in the New Jersey Governor’s Office, as Special Assistant to the State’s Chief Information Officer.

He has worked in the New Jersey Judiciary in the Essex County Criminal Division, AOC-Family Practice Division, in the Morris County Family, Operations, and Criminal Divisions (serving as Division Manager in each), in the Burlington County Probation Division as Chief Probation Officer.

Greg is President of the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management and a Past Director on the Board of the National Association for Court Management. He has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the National Center for State Courts’, Pretrial Justice and the State Courts Initiative, and a member of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force.

Samantha Wallis is the Assistant Court Administrator for the District Court, in Coeur d’Alene Idaho. Samantha grew up in Idaho, where she attended the University of Idaho to obtain her B.S. in Anthropology.  She went on to obtain her M.S. in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  She has worked for the courts since 2017 where she is currently the Assistant Trial Court Administrator for the First Judicial District of Idaho.  In her spare time, she loves traveling, trivia, and the outdoors. 

Do You Want to Know More?

Voice of the Profession: Trends 2018 to 2021

Voice of the Profession: Open Ended Responses

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