NAWJ Members Honored as Courageous Judges

Written by National Association of Women Judges|January 02, 2024|News

Six NAWJ members were selected by the National Judicial College who honored 60 judges, present and past, from courts in the United States and abroad, who have demonstrated courage in upholding the rule of law and providing justice for all. Honorees were selected from nominations by NJC alumni and staff. Below are the NAWJ honorees and here is a link to the complete list of honorees.

Hon. Marguerite Denise Downing
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
Former public defender who recognized the issues incarcerated parents faced in trying to participate in dependency cases. Formed a countywide stakeholders work group to identify and eliminate barriers to reunification and participation. Currently trains attorneys and judges across the nation on the effects of parental incarceration on children in the child welfare system.

Hon. Maya Guerra Gamble
Presiding Judge, 459th District Court of Travis County, Texas
Presided, with intense media scrutiny, over the Heslin v. Jones trial that arose out of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones accusing parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims of being actors in a hoax. She received harassment and threats for her rulings against Jones and also for issuing a TRO blocking a law that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” abortion after six weeks.

Hon. Robin Hudson
Retired Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court
Authored a 2022 opinion striking down North Carolina legislative and congressional districts as partisan gerrymanders that violated the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that part of the opinion but agreed with her that the “independent state legislature” theory was inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Hon. Shanta Owens
Alabama Circuit Court Judge
In 2022, Judge Owens formally dismissed charges against two African-American men in Alabama who had been convicted of rape in 1993 and had spent two decades behind bars. She ruled that they had been wrongfully convicted because the state withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense whereby a police report showed that the victim identified another individual as the perpetrator of the crime.

Hon. Lisa Walsh
Miami-Dade County (Florida) Circuit Court Judge
Leader of a special program of the National Association of Women Judge’s that is assisting more than 30 refugee Afghan judges in the United States.

Hon. Noël Wise
Judge of the Superior Court of Alameda County, California
In the wake of intense scrutiny directed at the criminal justice system following the police killing of George Floyd, she became the first California judge to write that all judges have an ethical obligation to speak out against racial injustice. Her article is now part of the statewide curriculum in the mandatory New Judges Orientation program.

Connect With Us

Facebook Twitter