NAWJ Monthly Update July 2015

Written by National Association of Women Judges|July 01, 2015|Monthly Update Archive

This message was sent to you because you are a member of the National Association of Women Judges. To ensure you receive future communications, please have your network administrator add to your approved sender list so that e-mails received from this domain are not sent to your junk mail folder.

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Monthly Update Banner
July 2015

In This Issue:


On the heels of our nation's Independence Day celebration, several very significant NAWJ events took place in Washington D.C. last week which exhibited the strengths and relevance of our organization. The Tenth Annual Congressional Women's Caucus Luncheon was held on July 9th. This annual meeting of NAWJ leadership and the women in Congress to discuss issues of common concern was initiated by our board under the leadership of former President Vanessa Ruiz in 2006. This year's gathering brought together over sixty committed individuals from around the country to focus on the treatment and plight of incarcerated women.

Judge Brenda Murray, who co-chairs the Women in Prison Committee together with Judge Betty Williams, skillfully moderated a superb panel: Sam Simon, Senior Counsel to Hon. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Judiciary Committee; Sonia Kumar, Staff Attorney, ACLU Maryland; Patti Butterfield, Sr. Deputy Assistant Director, Reentry Services Division, Federal Bureau of Prisons; and Professor Brenda V. Smith, American University, Washington College of Law. The panel presentations were followed by a very dynamic exchange between the attendees and panelists.

We were privileged to hear from a half dozen Congresswomen who took time out of their overly crowded schedules to share their grave concerns. Caucus Co-Chair Doris Matsui (California) provided opening remarks addressing the identified topic, and also the need for funding 'wraparound' services and treatment for the mentally ill in our communities, noting our jails have far too often become, by default, where those with mental illness end up. Representatives Donna Edwards (Maryland), Brenda Lawrence (Michigan), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington, D.C.) provided a very disturbing overview supported by statistics about the challenges and conditions women in prison endure, and of the overrepresentation of women of color in our custodial institutions. Representative Suzanne Bonimici (Oregon) made a plea for supporting legal aid services, another area of great concern that affects access to justice by our most vulnerable populations. A number of papers and summaries identifying specific concerns were distributed - Caged Bird Sing: A Report by Girls on a Unite a Waxter, Female Offenders in the Bureau of Prisons - including an article which recently appeared in the Atlantic Monthly entitled Prison Born, summarizing a ten year study that documents the positive effects on children who remained with their incarcerated mothers for some time period after birth.

What struck me later is the uniqueness of this collaborative and interdisciplinary gathering that brings together members of Congress, NAWJ leaders, academic experts and government officials - and thus its powerful capacity to effectuate change. In addition to our Women in Prison Committee, we are greatly indebted to our NAWJ Senior Programs Manager, Lavinia Cousin, for assisting in so many ways to make this very successful and inspiring event happen, and to CourtCall LLC for its sponsorship of this year's Annual Meeting.

On the evening of July 9th, we switched gears to a more global perspective to celebrate and officially announce the upcoming 2016 IAWJ Biennial Conference being hosted by NAWJ for the first time in twenty-four years. This 25th anniversary of IAWJ, which our very committed Co-Chairs, Judges Carolyn Temin and Jane Craney, anticipate will draw more than 700 judges from around the world will be hosted in our nation's capital May 26-29. A highlight of the jam packed agenda, which focuses on the Rule of Law, is a truly phenomenal panel consisting of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Lady Hale of Britain, Chief Justice Mambilima of Zambia, and Supreme Court Justices Highton-Nolasco of Argentina and Teresa de Castro of the Philippines. This kickoff reception, attended by 70 people and generously hosted by the Hunton & Williams LLP law firm, was again a tribute to the spirit of collaboration among partners dedicated to the common goal of advancing worldwide justice for all. The cumulative enthusiasm of our NAWJ leaders and engaged members, invaluable legal and corporate Resource Board members, and our dedicated staff, led by Executive Director Marie Komisar who organized this event, was very palpable in the room.

And so goes a Day in the Life of NAWJ.

Warm Regards,


Judge Julie E. Frantz

President's Calendar:

July 31: ABA Annual Meeting/Chicago: Commission on Women; John Marshall Luncheon; State Court Judges Meeting.
August 2: ABA Commission on Women Margaret Brent Award Luncheon honoring former NAWJ President Justice Nan Duffly.

Hon. Michele Christiansen, Utah Court of Appeals
Hon. Sharon McCully (Retired), 3rd District Juvenile Court
Education: Hon. Kate Toomey, Utah Court of Appeals
Tammy G. Georgelas, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer
Margaret N. McGann, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference
October 7-11, 2015 • Salt Lake City, Utah
Grand America Hotel

(Download the conference brochure)

Optional Tours
Film Screening of Women Trailblazers in the Law: Utah's First 100 Women Lawyers
International Judges Reception
New Judges/First-Time Attendee Reception
Welcome Reception

Gender Bias: How Far Have We Come in 25 Years?
After Marriage: A Dialogue on LGBT Rights and Religious Liberties
Keynote Speaker: Professor Sujata Warrier
Impact of Media/Social Media on High Profile Cases
Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline
The Uneasy Intersection of Law And Medicine
Reception at the National History Museum

Erwin Chemerinsky
Immigration Issues Facing Local, State and Federal Courts
Human Trafficking: A Pro Bono Counsel's View of U.S. v. Adan
Friends Appreciation Luncheon
Evidentiary Issues Involving Magnetic Images of the Brain
Domestic Sex Trafficking: Overcoming the Barriers to Successful Prosecutions
Predictable Misjudgment: How Intuition Misleads Judges
Justice Reinvestment Initiative: A National Perspective
A Conversation with Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Where Are We Almost 50 Years After In Re Gault?
Utah Women Lawyers Judicial Reception

Annual NAWJ Business Meeting
Mindfulness and Meditation
Personal Story - Born in Prison, A Woman Rises Against the Odds
Annual NAWJ Gala Banquet


OPTIONAL EXCURSION: "Music and the Spoken Word" performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Forty (40) attendees may attend the live performance. Please email if you want to attend.

$525 for Members who are First-Time Attendees
$595 for NAWJ Members ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)
$695 for Non-Member Attendees
$575 Guest Rate for Spouse and Children of Attendees ($550 Earlybird rate until April 25, 2015)

Register online here, or download and fax this registration form.

Call (800) 304-8696 • NAWJ Rate: $189/night, plus applicable taxes

For More Information Contact:
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd at

NAWJ Awards Committee Seeks Nominations
for Annual Hon. Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award
and Florence K. Murray Award

NAWJ Executive Committee and President to Consider Candidates for Mattie Belle Davis
Award and Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award

The NAWJ Awards Committee requests nominations for the Honorable Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year Award and for the Florence K. Murray Award. Nominations will be accepted until the deadline of August 7, 2015. To assist you in nominating candidates for these two awards, click here for application guidelines for the KLEIN Award, and here for the MURRAY Award.

In addition, the Executive Committee and the President will respectively select 2015 honorees for the Mattie Belle Davis Award and the Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award. Click here to review guidelines for the Mattie Belle Davis and Justice Vaino Spencer Awards.

Awards will be given out during the 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Please submit completed nominations no later than August 8 to by mail or fax to:

National Association of Women Judges
Attn: Hon. Amy L. Nechtem
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: 202-393-0125

Judge Diana Becton, Contra Costa County Superior Court
Judge Diana S. Eagon, Hennepin County District Court (Retired)
Chief Justice Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court
Judge Brenda Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court (Retired)
Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, Washington State Supreme Court
Judge Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Member Spotlight: IOWA's Women in Prison Coordinator
Judge Donna l. Paulsen

The Honorable Donna L. Paulsen has been a member of NAWJ since 1992. As a District Judge, she has presided in each of the fifteen counties in the Fifth Judicial District. In Polk County, she completed rotations in all specialty dockets in a fast-paced urban court. The cases included criminal, civil, family, and juvenile law. She has tried hundreds of jury cases, including first degree murder, complex products liability, medical malpractice, and commercial. For two years she presided weekly over the Intensive Supervision Drug Court, a prison diversion program for drug addicts charged with a felony. After serving as a District Court Judge for twenty years, in 1992 she became a Senior Judge and continues to work on the Polk County bench. She currently serves on the Education Cabinet of the United Way and is a member of the Grant-making Committee of the Great Des Moines Community Foundation. You may read her full bio here.

Judge Donna Paulsen, who was one of the driving forces behind IOWA's Visiting Mom Project, which you can read about immediately following this section.

Five Things You Don't Know About Judge Paulsen

My first job after graduating from college was…
My first job after college was a Fourth Grade Teacher in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Back in the day, you got married (no partner in sight for me), became a nurse (hated blood) or taught school. Those were the only choices. My training as an elementary teacher was actually very useful in my judicial career dealing with complex cases with multiple attorneys.

Between college and law school I…
After college and teaching school for two years I made a momentous choice. Should I go to Law School or should I join my good friend in Aspen, Colorado, who had found me a job as a waitress? Law School won out but it was a close call.

My most infamous 'almost'…
During the summer before my senior year in college I hitchhiked through Europe with a girlfriend for six weeks and our total budget was $300. On the flight home, many students were headed to a weekend festival in a small town in New York that we never heard of. Since we were out of money, we missed joining them at Woodstock.

That moment when you…
Upon being appointed the first woman District Court Judge in our area, one of my judicial colleagues expressed to me that he was very concerned about the salaries of judges declining. He explained that since women were becoming judges the prestige of the position was going downhill which would lead to a decline in pay.

I am proud of…
My husband, children and being part of the American Judicial System, in this order.

Visiting Mom's Project
Iowa's Women in Prison Programs Honored with
National Conference of Women's Bar Associations Public Service Award

The Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys and Polk County Women Attorneys will receive the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations (NCWBA) Public Service Award for the Visiting Mom's Project. This award is granted annually to honor "great projects of member organizations as a way of thanking the associations involved for their work and as a way of showcasing ideas which might be suitable for adoption by other groups." (Judge Paulsen is pictured left with her two children Lucas Forte and Lauren Press at the prison visiting room.)

The Visiting Mom's Project started with several female judges learning that the Iowa Women's Correctional Institution in Mitchellville was undergoing various renovations, including improving the visiting room. For many incarcerated women the visiting room was a place where they parent their children. Inmates made clear to visiting judges that their vision for the room was a space that would allow them to interact with their children, including flashcards, educational games and puzzles, books, and learning activities. The residents were adamant that they did not want a television in the visiting room.

Unfortunately, funding was not available to properly equip the room for these important activities. The judges notified IOWA and PCWA about plans at Mitchellville, and the membership responded immediately by forming the Visiting Mom Project steering committee in conjunction with the Ashcraft Library project with an initial goal to raise $10,000, by raising $100 each from 100 donors. In less than two months, over $15,000.00 was raised from over 100 donors-150% of the original goal. The Project purchased over 350 books from a local bookstore, and a publishing company donated an additional 350 books. In selecting books, the steering committee focused on books that would contain positive messages and show a wide diversity of people, including African-American and Native American protagonists and books written in Spanish or bilingually in English and Spanish. A local children's toy store helped the committee pick out games and toys that would be interactive, provide learning opportunities, and be sturdy and easy to clean. The variety of games and toys that were purchased is staggering - basic card games like Uno, classic games like chess, a train table, cooperative board games, flash cards, sequence games, and games for autistic children provide a sampling of the items selected. The Project also purchased child-sized furniture and rocking chairs, as well as sturdy storage bins and shelves and a duplo table. Rocking chairs were also purchased to allow residents who give birth while at Mitchellville a place to rock their babies. The room was completed and a grand opening ceremony in October 2013 with IOWA and PCWA members on hand. Many of the residents cried when they saw the visiting room. Since its opening, it has been a place of healing and connection for inmates and their children and will continue to be so for years to come.

The award will be presented at the NCWBA Summit on July 31, 2015, in Chicago.

Request from the NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee

The NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee is conducting a survey of NAWJ members who are retired from the bench or have senior status, in order to collect information on the variety of activities in which they are engaged. The purpose of the questionnaire is to share this information with each other, including those who are retired, and those who are contemplating retirement/taking senior status.

Although a questionnaire was emailed to a list we hope included all retired/senior judges, the Retired/Senior Judges Committee want to ensure sure it did not miss anyone, and we are concerned that the list of retired/senior judges may not be up-to-date. If you are an NAWJ member who is retired from the bench or who has senior status, and you did not receive an email from Joan Churchill on July 9, 2015 enclosing the questionnaire, click here to access the questionnaire, and return it completed to Hon. Joan Churchill, Chair of the NAWJ Retired/Senior Judges Committee by email at: CHURCHIL@EROLS.COM.

ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services
invites comments at a public hearing during the ABA
Annual Meeting in Chicago:
Saturday, August 1, 2015
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Swissotel, Lucerne II, Ballroom Level

More information here. If you are interested in testifying or providing written comment, please contact Katy Englehart in the ABA Office of the President at To learn more about the Commission, please visit:

Congratulations to NAWJ Past President Justice Nan Duffly
an ABA Commission on Women in the Profession
2015 Margaret Brent Award Honoree

Awards presented at
Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards Luncheon
Sunday, August 2nd in Chicago, Illinois

The 2015 Honorees:
Mari Carmen Aponte, Ambassador of the United States to El Salvador
Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino, U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General
Justice Fernande R.V. (Nan) Duffly, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Mary Ann Hynes, Esq., Senior Counsel, Dentons US LLP; Formerly, SVP, General Counsel, Ingredion
Professor Emma Coleman Jordan, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

Part of NAWJ and GEICO's partnership will provide insurance discounts to NAWJ members. Contact GEICO for a free quote on auto insurance to see how much you could be saving. And, don't forget to mention your NAWJ affiliation; you could qualify for an exclusive member savings opportunity. Visit (special portal here) or call 1-800-368-2734 for your free rate quote. GEICO can also help you find great rates on homeowners, renters, motorcycle insurance, and more!

Calendar of Programs and Events

NAWJ District Two will celebrate the contributions of the federal judiciary by honoring Judge Ellen Bree Burns on September 26 at The Graduate Club in New Haven, CT. Contact: Judge Mary Sommer at or (203) 579-7274.

NAWJ will hold its 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 8-11, 2015.


The International Association of Women Judges Biennial will be hosted in the United States by the National Association of Women Judges in Washington D.C. from May 26-29, 2016.

NAWJ 37th Annual Conference will take place in Seattle, Washington from October 5-9, 2016 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

Connect With Us

Facebook Twitter