This course is designed for judges recently appointed or elected to specialized courts. The course is filled with valuable information and practice opportunities in the areas of law that new judges encounter in the courtroom, such as criminal law and procedure; evidence issues; judicial writing; sentencing issues; ethical issues; caseflow management, and more. Rich discussion with the course faculty, as well as with fellow students, will afford participants a unique opportunity to finely tune their basic bench skills.
Why should I take this course?
“Special courts” are those courts with a limited jurisdiction – such as traffic court, misdemeanor courts, domestic violence court, or small claims court, to name a few. Special courts are also courts serving a particular population, such as tribal courts. During this course, judges will receive a solid foundation in caseflow management, judicial writing, communications skills, evidence, legal reasoning, and more. The course will help judges gain confidence in knowing that they are properly following legal and procedural requirements in their role as judge.
What will I learn?
During this course, you will learn to:
- Describe the role and responsibilities of a judge.
- Recognize the evolving role of the judge as a change agent in the community.
- Apply a practical approach to Fourth Amendment issues and use approved guidelines for issuing search warrants.
- Conduct criminal hearings and trials in compliance with constitutional and statutory standards.
- Make better decisions regarding the admissibility of evidence.
- Work effectively with court interpreters.
- Create an environment of fairness and impartiality in the courtroom.
- Communicate effectively in the courtroom and with the media.
- Determine appropriate sentencing alternatives for specific offenses and offenders.
- Recognize and utilize the psychological profiles of criminal personalities in sentencing.
- Manage the courtroom and individual cases efficiently and comfortably, including cases involving self-represented litigants.
- Mitigate potential trial disruptions and utilize effective courtroom control measures.
- Increase litigant, attorney and public confidence in the courts by using proper case, calendar and trial management techniques.
- Improve writing skills.
- Identify and practice numerous stress reduction techniques.
Who should attend?
This course is designed for special court judges who have graduated from law school, or more experienced judges without law degrees who have already completed the introductory two-week Special Court Jurisdiction or Fundamentals of Evidence. In addition, any judge of limited jurisdiction from urban or rural areas, who serves full-time or part-time, and has been recently elected or appointed to the bench should attend.
Who are the members of the faculty?
The faculty is composed of experienced judges, professors, physicians, and consultants who have a mastery of teaching the skills needed to effectively manage a special court docket, and will provide valuable best practices information regarding limited jurisdiction adjudication.
How is this course taught?
The course is an introduction to every substantive and skill area a new judge will encounter on the bench, with an emphasis on practical application. The faculty encourages you to interact, and are available outside of the classroom for informal discussion of issues and problems. The class also meets in small discussion groups daily. Trained group facilitators will assist each group in working through problem solving exercises, while examining new ideas and complex issues. These facilitators are experienced judges who are graduates of the course and are willing to guide discussion and mentor members of their group. Friendships and networking among these groups often extends years after the course. Some segments of this course are held in conjunction with the General Jurisdiction course.
What should I tell my presiding judge or funding agency so that my attendance will be approved?
Increasing caseloads, public criticism, community demands and legal complexities make the judge’s job more difficult than ever before. This investment in judicial education will be returned to the court and community through the judge’s increased efficiency, better decision-making skills, better understanding of the law, and more confidence on the bench.
Whom should I contact for more information?
For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (800) 255-8343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This course qualifies for 4 credits toward the Master of Judicial Studies Degree Program and Judicial Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Nevada, Reno upon successful completion of the course and passing the course exam. In addition, this course qualifies for The National Judicial College Certificate in Judicial Development program Dispute Resolution Skills, Special Court Trial Skills and Tribal Judicial Skills disciplines.