NAWJ Monthly Update December 2016

Written by National Association of Women Judges|December 08, 2016|Monthly Update Archive

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December 2016

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Diana Becton
NAWJ President

President's Message December 2016


The holiday season is upon us and our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. I want to thank all of our members, Board of Directors, committee chairs, volunteers, sponsors and staff. As I reflect on the past year, I am appreciative of all the great people I've come to know and work with through NAWJ.

I have much to be thankful for this season, and I want to give a special nod to staff who work at NAWJ, Marie Komisar, Executive Director and Lavinia Cousin, Senior Program & Publication Manager. Our team works hard to serve all our members while moving our organization forward, and I feel blessed to work with them.

We have a superb group of 25 individuals who serve on our Board of Directors. They dedicate their time and expertise to guide and champion our efforts, and I'm proud to have their support.

I owe a huge thank you to this year's outstanding annual conference team led by Conference Chair Justice Susan Owens and Co-Chairs Justices Mary E. Fairhurst, Barbara Madsen, Sheryl Gordon McCloud and Debra L. Stephens. Your conference committee provided cutting edge educational programs and engaging social events where we were able to develop lasting relationships. And of course we had fun! A giant THANK YOU for your labor of love!

A special nod of thanks to our Resource Board led by Co-Chairs Orrick attorney Karen Johnson-McKewan and Cathy Winter, Director of Corporate Development at CourtCall LLC. Your commitment to supporting NAWJ both financially and programmatically is very much appreciated.

The holiday season is always a great time of the year, and it inspires me to look ahead, re-energize, and reflect on the past year. We've have a great year. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings. You can bet that we will be kicking off the year with some pretty exciting plans, including our Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles, California, and our Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Finally it is a great time to give, please consider an annual donation to NAWJ. We need your support!

I wish you all the very best of the holidays, thank you sincerely for your continued service.

Sincerely yours,

Diana Becton
President, National Association of Women Judges

Statement on the President of the National Association of Women Judges
on the Death of NAWJ Founder and Former California Justice Vaino Hassan Spencer

"On behalf of the members of the National Association of Women Judges, I want to express our profound sadness in learning of the passing of one the organization's founding mothers, The Honorable Vaino Hassan Spencer," says NAWJ President Judge Diana Becton, California Superior Court, Contra Costa County.

In 1974, after having founded the Black Women Lawyers Association, Justice Spencer joined with the former California Appeals Court Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, who co-founded the California Women Lawyers, to coordinate their efforts in support of women nominated to federal and state supreme courts. The seeds of these early collaborations grew into an organization to promote increasing the number of women in the judiciary and to address the gender bias problems experienced by the few women who were on the bench. More than 100 women judges gathered at the Westwood Marquis in Los Angeles, California from October 25-28, 1979 to convene NAWJ's first national conference.

By 1980, just one year after the founding Conference, membership in NAWJ increased to 273 and included a number of male judges. When President James Carter took office in 1977, there were only ten women ever appointed to the federal bench. By the time he met with NAWJ in October 1980, he had appointed 38 more. Justice Spencer would later remark:

We have been warmly greeted [everywhere], and we've gotten tremendous support, even from local judges who were openly resentful of our organizing initially. They have come around to be quite supportive, and they've demonstrated that in supporting the various programs that we have addressing gender bias and race bias in our courts.

Today, NAWJ has a membership of over 1,200 members, women and men, judges, attorneys and associates who sit at all levels of the federal and state and local judiciary. NAWJ's continues Its mission of promoting the judicial role in protecting the rights of individuals under the rule of law through strong, committed, diverse judicial leadership; fairness and equality in the courts; and equal access to justice. Senior members, having established their judicial careers now volunteer in improving the conditions of women in prison, reduce recidivism and support bonds between the incarcerated and their families. prepare NAWJ conducts education and outreach programs that explore current topics in Administrative, Military and Specialized Courts, Bankruptcy, Human Trafficking, and Informed Voters-Fair Judges, while also building networks and encouraging younger generations to pursue careers in the law through its Bar to the Bench, Color of Justice, and MentorJet programs.

Faces of Justice
NAWJ 38th Annual Conference
October 5-9, 2016 • Seattle, WA
Visit the conference's photo galleries and program details here.

From October 5-9, 2016 over 300 judges, attorneys, government officials, academic and legal experts convened for NAWJ's 38th Annual Conference, Faces of Justice, in Seattle, Washington. Instrumental to bringing the conference to life is the Conference Planning Committee led by Conference Chair Hon. Susan Owens, Washington State Supreme Court and Co-Chairs Hon. Mary E. Fairhurst, Hon. Barbara Madsen, Hon. Sheryl Gordon McCloud and Hon. Debra L. Stephens, her colleagues on the Washington State Supreme Court. All supported by NAWJ 2015-16 President Lisa Walsh (11th Circuit Court of Florida).

Education Committee Chairs Hon. Karen Donohue (Seattle Municipal Court), Hon. Margaret Vail Ross (Pierce County District Court), and committee member Judith M. Anderson (Judicial Services Division, Administrative Office of the Courts) programed a concert of sessions that spoke to our members' issues of today. The Washington State Courts has made an excellent, representative photo timeline presentation of each activity, program and session for your view. Click here and take a look and see everyone - speakers, planners, members - who participated.

Event Chair Hon. Marilyn Paja, Kitsap County District Court, coordinated a memorable, misty ferry excursion to the Suquamish Tribal Museum and Tribal Court, a tour of the modern Seattle Municipal Court led by its Presiding Judge Karen Donohue; and the world class attractions at Seattle Center - Chihuly Garden and Glass and The Experience Museum Project.

Volunteer Chair, Hon. Marcine S. Anderson (King County District Court, West Division), assembled an amiable team of volunteers to assist conference attendees in registration, signing-up for excursions, and directing speakers throughout NAWJ five-day conference.

Thank you to conference budget chair Hon. Laurel H. Siddoway, Court of Appeals, Division II.

This wonderful conference could not have taken place without the leadership of the Friends Chairs Ellen Conedera Dial, Esq. and Nancy Dykes Isserlis, Esq. and the long list of sponsors they were able to gather in support of the conference's programs and activities: Premier Sponsor: Perkins Coie Foundation; Gold Sponsors: Lane Powell PC, LexisNexis, Microsoft, Starbucks, Washington State Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission; Silver Sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Regina and Charlie Cheever, CourtCall LLC, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, GEICO, JAMS, Nintendo, Inc; Pacifica Law Group Seattle, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt; Thomson Reuters, Williams Kastner; Bronze Sponsors: Bullivant Houser Bailey PC; Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Gordon Tilden Thomas & Cordell LLP, Keller Rohrback L.L.P, Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton; Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Patterson Buchanan Fobes & Leitch, Inc. P.S.; Stokes Lawrence, Summit Law Group, Washington State Association for Justice; Supporters: Aoki Law, Calibre CPA Group Jameson, Babbit, Stites & Lombard PLLC; King County Bar Association, Lisa Kinoshita, Jewelry Designer; Mills Meyers Swartling P.S., Talmadge/Fitzpatrick/Tribe, Washington State Bar Foundation.

Education programs and beautiful excursions are not the only highlights of NAWJ's conferences, each conference also swears in a new President - Hon. Diana Becton, California Superior Court, Contra Costa County - of the Association and a slate of officers. (For more photos of officer induction click here.) You can find a full list of officer and district directors later in this Update.

Saturday night's Gala Banquet gave chance to members to hear from their new President, Hon. Diana Becton, laugh at the Improv of Unexpected Productions, and for outgoing President Lisa Walsh to recognize the achievement of select members. The Hon. Judith S. Chirlin - Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Honoree of the Year; Elizabeth M. Hernandez, Esq. and Akerman LLC - Florence K. Murray Award; Hon. Cheryl J. Gonzales, Hon. Brenda Murray and Hon. Betty J. Williams - Mattie Belle Davis Award; Hon. Karen Matson Donohue - Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award.

NAWJ 2016-2017 Board of Directors

At NAWJ's Annual Business Meeting held during the Annual Conference the following ensemble of seasoned, experienced and dedicated NAWJ members from diverse regions and backgrounds were voted into office. Below a list of Executive Committee members, and District Directors who are you direct resource for news or questions on events and activities in your area.


Hon. Diana Becton, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court, New York County

Vice President, Districts
Hon. Marilyn G. Paja, Kitsap County District Court, Washington

Vice President, Publications
Hon. Jane Spencer Craney, Morgan Superior Court 3, Indiana

Hon. Tamila Ipema, Superior Court of California, San Diego County

Hon. Kathy J. King, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County

Projects Committee Chair
Hon. Marcella Holland, Baltimore City Circuit Court (Retired), Maryland

Finance Committee Chair
Hon. Ariane Vuono, Massachusetts Appeals Court


District 1 (ME, MA, NH, PR, RI)
Hon. Mary Lou Muirhead, Boston Municipal Court, Massachusetts

District 2 (CT, NY, VT)
Hon. Cheryl J. Gonzales, Civil Court, Housing Part, New York

District 3 (DE, NJ, PA, VI)
Hon. Barbara McDermott, First Judicial District Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania

District 4 (DC, MD, VA)
Hon. Heidi Pasichow, Superior Court of the District of Columbia

District 5 (FL, GA, NC, SC)
Hon. Sara Lynn Doyle, Court of Appeals of Georgia

District 6 (AL, LA, MS, TN)
Hon. Bernadette D'Souza, Orleans Civil District Court, Louisiana

District 7 (MI, OH, WV)
Hon. Michelle Rick, 29th Circuit Court, Michigan

District 8 (IL, IN, KY)
Hon. Cassandra Lewis, Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois

District 9 (IA, MO, WI)
Hon. Ellen Levy Siwak, State of Missouri

District 10 (KS, MN, NE, ND, SD)
Hon. Cheryl Rios, Shawnee County District Court, Kansas

District 11 (AR, OK, TX)
Hon. Karen Sage, 299th District Court, Texas

District 12 (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY)
Hon. Emily Anderson, 17th Judicial District Court, Colorado

District 13 (AK, HI, ID, MT, OR, WA)
Hon. Karen Donohue, Seattle Municipal Court, Washington

District 14 (CA, NV)
Hon. Anita Santos, Contra Costa County Superior Court, California


International Director
Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania

ABA Delegate
Hon. Toni E. Clarke, Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland

Taking Networking to New Heights
Sponsored by the National Association of Women Judges
and Michigan State University Law School
November 15, 2016

NAWJ District 7 Director Judge Michele Rick joined members from across Michigan's legal community to participate in the successfully popular MentorJet Program in Michigan. Taking Networking to New Heights took place at Michigan State University Law School on November 15, 2016.

In addition to Janet Welch, Executive Director of the State Bar of Michigan, and Michigan State University Law School Dean Larry Ponoroff, mentors included: Hon. Donald. J Allen, Brendon Basiga (Basiga Law Firm), Hon. Thomas Boyd, Geraldine A. Brown (Assistant Attorney General), Alannah Buford (Plunkett Cooney), Hon. Janice K. Cunningham (56th Circuit Court), Reid DeManche (Quinn Law Group), Robert Easterly (Foster Swift), Carmen Fahie (Administrative Law Judge, LARA), Joel T. Finnell (Sinas, Dramas, Brake, Boughton & McIntyre, P.C), Anita Fox (Fraser Trebilcock), Henri Harmon (Harmon Law Firm), Katila Howard (Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith), Ryan Mills (Foster Swift), Lawrence P. Nolan ( President, State Bar of Michigan), David Nows (Foster Swift), Takura Nyamfukudza, (lane & Chartier, P.L.C.), Elizabeth Petsche (College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University), Jeffrey P. Ray ( Jeffrey P. Ray, P.C.), Alexander Rusek (White Law PLLC), Jeffrey Sattler (Schafer & Weiner Law Offices), Erin Sedmak (Dykema), Doug Van Epps (Director, Office of Dispute Resolution), Mieke V. Weissert, Esq. (Loomis, Ewert, Parsley, Davis & Gotting, P.C.), .Col. John Wojick (General Counsel, Michigan National Guard) and Muzna Zeitouni.

Fourth Annual NCBJ-NAWJ
NAWJ Host October Meet and Greet at the National Conference of
Bankruptcy Judges in San Francisco

On Thursday morning October 27, 2016, members of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges who are also members of the National Association of Women Judges hosted their Fourth Annual NCBJ-NAWJ Meet and Greet Breakfast at our NCBJ Conference.

The breakfast, which took place in the "Wine Stables" at the Cavalier Restaurant, Hotel Zetta in San Francisco was a huge success. Many thanks go to NCBJ-NAWJ Liaison Committee Chair, Rosemary Gambardella and NAWJ Federal Judges Committee Co-Chair Colleen Brown. NAWJ President Diane Becton joined the gathering and offered inspiring remarks and described in overview many upcoming NAWJ projects. She encouraged everyone to join NAWJ.

In attendance (clockwise from lower left): Judges Elaine Hammond (CA), Colleen A. Brown (VT), Margaret Mann (CA), Kathleen Hvass Sandberg (MN), Victoria Kauffman (CA), Laura Taylor (CA), Diana Becton [standing], Joan Feeney (MA), Maureen Tighe (CA), Mary Kay Vyskocil (NY), and Laurel Myerson Isicoff (FL) not pictured (our photographer).

NAWJ and Orange County Women Lawyers Hosts 7th Annual
Speed Mentoring Event at Chapman University Law School

Former District 14 Director Judge Jamoa Moberly and attorney Deirdre Kelly chaired the 7th Annual Speed Mentoring event at Chapman University Law School on September 15, 2016. The MentorJet program was co-sponsored by NAWJ and the Orange County Women Lawyers. The law school hosted a buffet dinner which preceded the event. Over 70 students and mentors attended. Students rotated around 12 tables staffed with mentor judges from the Orange County Superior Court and attorneys from diverse practices. Another success!

NAWJ Women in Prison Committee Notes Step Forward by
U.S. Justice Department Bureau of Prison Reforms

For decades, members of NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee have fought for the improvement in the conditions of women in prison, and a successful and sustained re-entry into society. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department announced reforms to reduce recidivism and promote inmate rehabilitation. Here is the press release from the Office of the Attorney General.

A summary of reforms below:

• From day one, identifying an inmate's individualized "criminogenic" needs.
• Building a "school district" within the federal prison system.
• Launching a tablet-based pilot program for inmate education.
• Supporting the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program.
• Encouraging inmates to develop marketable job skills.
• Developing standardized, evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism.
• Prioritizing mental health treatment for inmates.
• Ensuring inmates receive appropriate substance abuse treatment.
• Helping inmates maintain family ties while incarcerated.
• Enhancing programs for female inmates.
• Reducing the use of solitary confinement and other forms of restrictive housing.
• Phasing out BOP's use of private prisons.
• Reforming and strengthening federal halfway houses.
• Helping inmates obtain government-issued ID prior to their release.
• Equipping inmates with information and resources as they return to the community.

This link leads to reports for which NAWJ made recommendations and contributed to the reforms announced November 30, 2016.

Women in Prison Committee Report on Brooklyn's Metropolitan
Detention Center Persuades Federal Magistrate to Halt Remands

A New York Daily News October 7, 2016 article sheds light on the reach of NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee work in highlighting the horrific conditions women in prison live under while in federal prison. From Daily News reporter John Marzulli:

A federal judge said Thursday she is reluctant to remand female defendants to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in light of "unconscionable" conditions found at the jail.

Brooklyn Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak ordered that representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office appear in her courtroom on Oct. 27 for a hearing on what is being done to fix the problems.

"I would like to get to the bottom of this before I remand anyone to MDC," Pollak said. "Some of these conditions wouldn't surprise me if we were dealing with a prison in Turkey or a Third World Country. It's hard for me to believe it's going on in a federal prison."

Read the rest of his article here.

Read NAWJ's Women in Prison Committee report on visits to Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center here.

Sail with NAWJ from Boston to Montreal
on Holland America's ms Maasdam
May 20-27, 2017

2017 New England Cruise Schedule
Saturday - 20 May 2017
Depart 4:00 pm Boston, Massachusetts

Sunday - 21 May 2017
Arrive 7:00 am Bar Harbor, Maine - Depart 3:00 pm

Monday - 22 May 2017
Arrive 9:00 am Halifax, Nova Scotia - Depart 6:00 pm

Tuesday - 23 May 2017
Arrive 11:00 am Sydney, Nova Scotia - Depart 6:00 pm

Wednesday - 24 May 2017
Arrive 11:00 am Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - Depart 6:00 pm

Thursday - 25 May 2017
Cruising the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Friday - 26 May 2017
Arrive 7:00 am Quebec - Depart 6:00 pm
Cruising the Saint Lawrence River

Saturday - 27 May 2017
Arrive 7:00 am Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Interior Stateroom $759
Ocean-View Stateroom $959
Vista Suite $2,199

Taxes, fees and port expenses are an additional $210 and subject to change. *Assuming double occupancy. Single occupancy 200% of cruise fares.

Download and complete this cruise cabin reservation form and mail, fax or email to:
Nancy Curtis, 2334 Vista Valley Lane, Vista, California 92084. Fax: 760-295-7733

Each traveler's NAWJ registration fee includes an education session, a reception onboard and a cruise memento.

After December $150 NAWJ/IAWJ Members/Guests

Complete and fax/ mail/email this registration form to:
National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036.
Fax: (202) 393-0125.

Registration must be received by NAWJ no later than your final payment to the cruise line.

For more details or to inquire about roommate matching, contact cruise coordinator Nancy Curtis at

Landmark Sponsor GEICO

Part of NAWJ and GEICO's partnership provides 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 Events
Join NAWJ on Holland America's ms Maasdam will sail from Boston to Montreal, May 20-27, 2017.

NAWJ 38th Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 11-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

NAWJ 39th Annual Conference will take place in San Antonio, Texas from October 3-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk.

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