NAWJ Monthly Update September 2017

Written by National Association of Women Judges|September 05, 2017|Monthly Update Archive

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September 2017

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Diana Becton
NAWJ President



The 39th Annual NAWJ Conference and Meeting in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia is just a month away. Our theme, Access to Justice: Past, Present, and Future, will provide members and guests with a unique opportunity to explore historical lessons about justice from the Civil Rights Movement. We will discuss current innovations in criminal justice reform, and envision justice initiatives for years to come. The conference will feature a conversation with President and Mrs. Carter, an expansive array of engaging educational programs, quality keynote speakers, and a range of cultural and natural experiences. This will be an exceptional conference - you will not want to miss a moment. Register now at

I have the distinct honor and privilege of presenting NAWJ's 2017 Annual Awards at the October 14th Gala Ginner. Join me as we pause to recognize those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to the mission and goals of NAWJ. The awards bear the names of our visionary founders, Justices Joan Dempsey Kline and Vaino Spencer, and the names of inspirational women in the profession who have furthered the goals of NAWJ. Here are the 2017 honorees: Justice Carol W. Hunstein, Joan Dempsey Klein Award, Linda Klein, Florence K. Murray Award, Justice Ariane Vuono, Justice Vaino Spencer Award, and GEICO's William C. E. Robinson, recipient of the Mattie Belle Davis Award. Many thanks to our awards committee chaired by Hon. Amy Nechtem, and congratulations to all of our honorees.

Meanwhile, NAWJ will meet in Washington D.C. on September 7th for its Annual Meeting on Capitol Hill. The focus will be on the effect of opioids on families, women and children. NBC News Journalist Barbara Harrison will serve as moderator for a distinguished panel of experts, including Dr. Mary Carter, Magistrate Judge Tara J. Fentress, Massachusetts Juvenile Court Chief Judge Amy Nechtem and Meghan Wheeler, National Drug Court Institute.

We have a busy day on the Hill. Thanks to the outstanding leadership of Judges Brenda Murray and Betty Williams, the Women in Prison Committee will meet with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding issues affecting women in prison, and thereafter with Senator Kamala Harris' Chief of Staff Nathan Barankin to wrap-up our day on the Hill.

I can't wait to see you at one of our upcoming events.

Warm regards,


Hon. Diana Becton
President, National Association of Women Judges

NAWJ Meeting on Capitol Hill
to Discuss the Effects of Opioids on the Family
September 7, 2017 • 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Rayburn HOB

Join NAWJ and the Congressional Women's Caucus as co-sponsors NAWJ's annual meeting and panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Panelists will address the nation's opioid crisis, a key issue facing families across America. Discussions will explore the extent of the crisis and its impact on families, the 'neglect system', and seniors. RSVP: Lavinia Cousin

Journalist, NBC4 Washington; Creator, adoption outreach program 'Wednesday Child'.

Interprofessional Health Studies, Towson University
District of Columbia Superior Court, Family, Neglect and Abuse
Massachusetts Juvenile Court, NAWJ Past President
Independent Training and Technical Assistance Consultant
Senior Consultant for the National Drug Court Institute

RSVP: Lavinia Cousin

REGISTER TODAY Access to Justice: Past, Present and Future
NAWJ 39th Annual Conference
October 11-15, 2017 • Sheraton Atlanta Hotel

The 39th NAWJ Conference in Atlanta, Georgia will feature vibrant and interactive programs. Our theme, Access to Justice: Past, Present, and Future, will allow attendees to explore historical lessons about justice from the Civil Rights movement; discuss present justice changes such as criminal justice reform, and envision justice initiatives for years to come.

Click here for a complete Schedule of Events.

$595 for members who are First-Time Attendees*
$695 for NAWJ Members*
$795 for Non-Member Attendees*

* Subject to late $50 fee starting September 11, 2017.

Register online here, or download and mail this registration form.
For more information, contact Yves Dinte at

The conference host hotel is the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Call (866) 716-8134 • NAWJ Rate: $199/night, plus applicable taxes, single or double occupancy.

For more information, contact: Anne Mercer,

Explore optional social activities such as a Dine Around, a civil rights tour, excursions to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and a visit to a South Fulton Municipal jail.

For more details and signup registration information, click here.

Board of Directors Nomination Slate

In accordance with the NAWJ Bylaws, the Nominating Committee presents the following Nomination Slate for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors:

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court, New York County
(automatically assumes office)
Hon. Tamila Ipema, Superior Court of California, San Diego County
Vice President, Districts
Hon. Orlinda Naranjo, 419th District Court of Texas
Vice President, Publications
Hon. Anita Santos, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Kathy King, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County
Hon. Bernadette D'Sousa, Orleans Civil District Court, Louisiana
ABA Delegate
Hon. Toni E. Clarke, Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland
International Director
Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania

The slate will be voted on and sworn at the NAWJ Annual Business Meeting held Saturday October 14, 2017 during NAWJ's Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Nominating Committee includes:
Chair, Hon. Lisa Walsh, 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Civil Division
Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Joan Churchill (Immigration Judge, Retired)
Hon. Bernice Donald, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Hon. Fernande R.V. Duffly, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Retired)
Hon. Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court (Retired)
Hon. Julie Frantz, Multnomah County District Court, Oregon
Hon. Jennifer Gee, U.S. Department of Labor, California
Hon. Marcella A. Holland, Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland (Retired)
Hon. Gladys Kessler, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Hon. Brenda Stith Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri (Retired)
Hon. Judith McConnell, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District
Hon. Amy L. Nechtem, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, Massachusetts
Hon. Bea Ann Smith, Third Court of Appeals, Texas (Retired)
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals



The Joan Dempsey Klein Award honors a judge who brings distinction to their office and to the National Association of Woman Judges as exemplified by NAWJ co-founder California Court of Appeals Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

The Honorable Carol W. Hunstein has been an NAWJ member since 1995. She served as NAWJ District Director for the region which includes North and South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. She co-chairs this year's Annual Conference in Atlanta, after chairing NAWJ's 2008 Midyear in Buckhead. Justice Carol W. Hunstein was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in November 1992, becoming the second woman in history to serve on the Court. She served as Chief Justice from 2009-2013. Prior to her appointment to the highest court, Justice Hunstein ran for election in 1984 in DeKalb County, becoming the first woman elected as a Superior Court judge in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit. Justice Hunstein is the former chair of the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness, which was charged with implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Gender Bias and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias. Justice Hunstein was the first woman to serve as President of the Council of Superior Court Judges.


The award is presented annually to a nominee who is not a judge, and who has, by example or otherwise, influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the legal profession.

Linda Klein is the senior managing shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and immediate past president of the American Bar Association. As ABA President, Ms. Klein led the association's efforts to expand legal services for veterans, preserve federal funding for legal aid for the poor, and provide civics education through community Law Day events nationwide. She also promoted loan forgiveness for public-service lawyers and spurred development of ABA Blueprint, an online suite of law practice management tools for solo and small-firm lawyers. In June 1997, Ms. Klein became the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. Ms. Klein was one of the first women to lead a prominent Georgia law firm. She served as managing partner of Gambrell & Stolz beginning in 2001 and led the firm's 2007 merger with Baker Donelson, becoming a Baker Donelson board member and Georgia managing shareholder.

She served as chair of the ABA's House of Delegates, the second highest office in the organization, from 2010-2012. In 2004, the American Bar Association honored Klein with the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. She was an early member of the Board of Directors Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase diversity on corporate boards and general counsel positions.


This award honors outstanding leadership in promoting NAWJ's vision, core values and mission of NAWJ.

The Honorable Ariane D. Vuono has appointed to the Massachusetts Appeal Court in 2006. She has been a steady, dedicated member of NAWJ since then. She has held numerous leadership positions in the organization including District Director for the region including New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico, Finance Director, Treasurer, Secretary and Vice President of Publications. After serving a year as a law clerk to the justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court, Justice Vuono became an assistant district attorney for Hampden County, specializing in appellate work. From 1988 to 1995 she was chief of the appellate section of the District Attorney's Office for the Northwestern District (Hampshire and Franklin Counties), and argued many cases in the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. In 1995 she became an assistant United States attorney in Springfield, where she handled a wide variety of assignments, including federal trial and appellate work.


This award recognizes a member who has gone above and beyond his or her role as member and volunteer to help make a difference in the organization and furthered its mission, an individual dedicated to furthering and supporting women in the legal profession.

William Robinson has led GEICO's support of NAWJ since 2014 when he joined as a Resource Board member. Throughout his career, Mr. Robinson has worked to promote fairness and equality in the legal field for people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, and has invested his time and energy in a number of charitable organizations. In business, he has represented GEICO in complex employment and labor litigation issues, and he actively supports the company's education foundation. Mr. Robinson joined GEICO in 1999 as a senior trial attorney for the company's Silver Spring, Md., staff counsel office. In 2001, he transferred to the general counsel office at GEICO's corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Md. Five years later, Robinson was named corporate secretary of GEICO, a position he has held since 2007.

** The Awards Committee includes:
Chair, Hon. Amy L. Nechtem, Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, Massachusetts
Hon. Diana Becton, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Diana Eagon, Hennepin County Court, (Retired
Hon. Dana Fabe, Alaska Supreme Court (Retired)
Hon. Brenda Stith Loftin, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri (Retired)
Hon. Barbara Madsen, Washington State Supreme Court
Hon. Anita Santos, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Hon. Vanessa Ruiz, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Hon. Barbara Zuniga, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County

Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, 2017
with the Informed Voters fair Judges Project

Informed Voters Fair Judges Project has created new Constitution Day resources to assist with your local presentations this year. These resources include a webinar to help you prepare and utilize the presentations, two PowerPoint options, and a short Constitution Day PSA featuring United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Retired). Direct links to these resources are listed below.

The links will take you to our website and resources for Constitution Day. We have also included links to our materials for use with presentations throughout the year. If you have a specific need or would like assistance with creating a state-specific presentation, please contact Annette Boyd Pitts at and we will try our very best to assist you. Please take some time to review the resources and determine how to best utilize the materials in your public presentations.

Informed Voters Fair Judges website:

General Education Resources Page with Handouts and General Fair Courts = Justice Presentations:

Constitution Day PSA:

Constitution Day Webinar and Presentation Materials:

Full Fair and Free Video:

Finally, please remember to document your presentations through our reporting portal on the IVP website. This link provides access to a very short survey so that we may learn more about your presentations during Constitution Week or anytime throughout the year.

Please contact our National Education Chair at if you need assistance accessing any of the material or if you would like help in creating more state-specific presentations.

The National Judicial College
Questionable Authorities:
What Every Judge and Lawyer Needs to Know about Expert Witnesses
October 19, 2017
Law Offices of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
New York City

Please join prominent judges and attorneys for The National Judicial College experience. The National Judicial College, the nation's oldest and largest judicial education institution, invites you to participate in an interactive and practical program followed by a cocktail reception.


  • When: Oct. 19, 2017. Program will be from 4:30-6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
    51 West 52nd St., New York City
  • RSVP by Sept. 30, 2017 *
For more information, please visit the event website.

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
NAWJ Idaho and the Idaho Legal History Society will host a reception on September 14, 2017. The program will include a panel discussion as part of the inaugural History in the Making event for the Idaho Legal History Society. The theme is Women of the Idaho Supreme Court. Though Idahoans now have the privilege of Justice Robyn Brody's service, she is only the third woman to have ever served on the Court in over 100 years. All three Judges Linda Trout, Cathy Silak, and Robyn Brody will share their stories.

NAWJ 39th Annual Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from October 11-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

NAWJ and the National Judicial College will present Questionable Authorities: What Every Judge and Lawyer Needs to Know about Expert Witnesses, followed by a reception, on Thursday, October 19, 2017 in New York City.

NAWJ will join the Michigan State Bar Association to host a Faces of Justice Program with the Lansing Public Schools. The program will be held on October 30, 2017 at the Hall of Justice. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack will participate for the second year in a row.

NAWJ 40th Annual Conference will take place in San Antonio, Texas from October 3-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk. Contact Anne Mercer.

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