June 16, 2020

Vermont Chief Justice named to lead task force on improving state court responses to people with mental health issues

Williamsburg, Va., June 16, 2020 – Vermont Chief Justice Paul L. Reiber and New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks have been named co-chairs of the newly formed National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness. The task force was established by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and is staffed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI).

In March, CCJ and COSCA adopted a Resolution to establish the task force, noting: “… it is the role of the Conferences to lead the state court community in prompting changes to state court policies and practices that will lead to fairer, timelier justice for court-involved individuals with a serious mental illness.”

The task force is charged with studying the impact that individuals suffering from mental illness have on the operations of state judicial systems and making policy and practice recommendations to improve the state courts’ response.

The task force’s immediate focus is to develop resources for courts about procedures and best practices during the pandemic in civil and criminal cases involving people with mental illness.

The task force is a continuation and transition of the work of the National Initiative Advisory Committee, created in 2019 with a three-year SJI grant to NCSC. In May 2020, CCJ and COSCA established the task force to assume leadership of the remaining two-years of the SJI-funded project, transitioning the Advisory Committee’s work to the task force.

In addition to Chief Justice Reiber and Judge Marks, the task force’s executive committee includes:

  • Arizona Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel
  • Connecticut Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson
  • Indiana Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush
  • Oregon State Court Administrator Nancy Cozine
  • South Carolina State Court Administrator Tonnya K. Kohn
  • Illinois State Court Administrator Marcia M. Meis

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., 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.

National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA 23185-4147

Contact: Lorri Montgomery
Communications Director
National Center for State Courts