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Federal and State Court Cooperation

Topics for Cooperation Between State and Federal Courts

What issues could benefit from cooperation between state and federal courts, and how can a state–federal judicial council address these issues to benefit both court systems?

In 2016, at the request of the Judicial Conference Committee on Federal–State Jurisdiction, all chief federal district judges received an online survey that asked about cooperation with their state judge counterparts. The chief district judges noted topics and activities that could benefit from federal–state court cooperation, and noted whether they already collaborated with their state judges on the topics and whether they were interested in additional cooperation. The report is available here.

The topics below, listed alphabetically, stem from this research. These topics are also available in Appendix A of the Federal Judicial Center pocket guide Enhancing Cooperation Through State–Federal Judicial Councils.

  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs
  • Attorney discipline and conduct
  • Bankruptcy conflicts (e.g., impact of stays on state court proceedings)
  • Calendar and scheduling conflicts
  • Capital cases (death penalty appeals; habeas corpus; exhaustion)
  • Case management
  • Case tracking systems
  • Case workloads of judges
  • Certification of state law questions
  • Complex litigation
  • Court interpreters
  • Court security
  • Criminal cases (dual prosecution of state and federal offenses)
  • Discovery disputes and concerns
  • Diversity jurisdiction (including removal)
  • Drug enforcement cases
  • Eliminating racial and gender bias
  • Ethics/professional conduct of judges (including recusal)
  • Evaluations of judicial performance
  • Frivolous or improper litigation (how to address)
  • Funding and judicial budgeting
  • Immigration cases and jurisdiction
  • Joint education or CLE programs
  • Judicial immunity
  • Juries (jury management; selection of jurors)
  • Legislation affecting the judiciary (pending or recently enacted)
  • Long-range/strategic planning initiatives
  • Plea-bargaining procedures
  • Post-conviction relief
  • Prison-grievance procedures
  • Pro se litigation
  • Public access to the courts/public perception
  • Reducing delays in the judicial process
  • Relationships with the bar (admission to practice; surveys of attorneys; pro bono lists)
  • Resource allocation/potential sharing of resources (including facilities)
  • RICO (civil actions)
  • Rules changes for civil, evidence, and/or local rules (pending or enacted)
  • Sentencing guidelines
  • Significant court opinions (and their impact on both the state and federal courts)
  • Standards for appointing counsel
  • Technology in the courtroom (video teleconferencing for prisoner appearances; use of cameras; media coverage)
  • Transportation of prisoners to court
  • Tribal court issues