New website offers resources for high-profile trials

A high-profile case can land in your court with little or no warning. If unprepared, such cases can create chaos, absorb resources, and place your court at the center of an intense media spotlight. Judges and court professionals now have instant online access to the tools necessary to plan and manage high-profile cases in their courts. The new Managing High-Profile Cases for the 21st Century website is a joint project of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, and the National Judicial College. The project was made possible through a State Justice Institute grant.

“The vast majority of cases in our state courts are resolved with little or no fanfare,” NCSC President Mary C. McQueen said. “But when public scrutiny focuses on a particular trial – whether it involves a heinous crime, a celebrity, or a societal issue – judges and other court leaders need effective tools to help them manage intense media, security, and crowd issues, especially in a rapidly evolving technological environment.”

The new website offers best practices, techniques, and tools that have proven useful to courts that have experienced high-profile trials, in addition to checklists to help the trial judge, administrative officer, security personnel, jury managers, and others provide public access while ensuring a fair trial. The website also features the top six considerations for courts confronted with a high-profile trial, such as who will be on the leadership team, and what unique challenges will arise from this case? The website helps courts identify solutions to the six questions.

NCSC’s 1998 publication, Managing Notorious Trials, provided the basic framework of information, and an advisory committee of expert trial judges, court administrators, public information officers, and others added insights about new issues in high-profile case management.

For more information on this story, contact Greg Hurley at NCSC, 
(757)259-1819 or .

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia, is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts