NAWJ Monthly Update April 2015

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

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April 2015

In This Issue:


In less than a week, it will be my privilege and pleasure, as President of the National Association of Women Judges, and on behalf of the NAWJ Board of Directors, to welcome all in attendance to this year's Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference in the dynamic city of Chicago, a crucible of innovative thinking and cultural exchange. We hope that each of you will make the journey to Chicago to participate in this jam-packed conference filled with some 'nuts and bolts' guidance as well as invigorating presentations and exchanges on topics of vital interest and concern. All this is set to take place in the surroundings of the centrally located and recently beautifully renovated Palmer House Hilton where little known fact) the brownie was created.

The offerings at this conference are designed to advance the objectives of the theme chosen for this year - Voices of Justice: Keeping the Promise of the Rule of Law through Enhancing Diverse Judicial Leadership. Now more than ever, it is critical to protect the rights of individuals, particularly those belonging to vulnerable populations, and to set out the steps that will create a judiciary reflective of current demographics and the selection of which is based on qualifications, not one beholden to special interest groups. Our substantive programming in recent years has identified areas of significant concern and educated us as to the particulars. At this conference, we will both enhance those understandings and provide practical guidance, trainings and strategies to answer the call to action inherent in our mission-driven objectives, and along the way be inspired by the compelling remarks from our speakers who bring a wide range of experience and backgrounds.

Our conference kicks off on Thursday with a powerful keynote by former ABA president Laurel Bellows, who will set the table for the two sessions on Human trafficking which directly follow the luncheon, as well as the presentation on Women in the Legal Profession scheduled for Friday. The first will enlighten us to yet another fertile ground for modern day slavery: Gang Involvement, and the latter will focus on the practical aspect of what judges can actually do to address these issues. The afternoon concludes with the Informed Voters - Fair Judges Project panel which will provide a training on educating voters on the necessity of a fair and free judiciary to ensure the impartial and equal application of the Rule of Law.

Friday highlights include opening remarks by U.S. District Court Judge - Northern Illinois, the Hon. Ruben Castillo, an informative presentation on Women in the Legal Profession, and a toolbox of strategies by the Access to Justice through Diverse Leadership panel to increase the appointment of women to boards and commissions, and as special masters and receivers in bankruptcy courts. We are privileged to have as our noon speaker the Executive Director of the Brown Foundation, Cheryl Brown Henderson, the daughter of the plaintiff, Rev. Oliver Brown, in the 1954 landmark school desegregation case Brown v Board of Education. Ms. Henderson will provide a retrospective and explore the challenging questions of where do we go from here in response to current day events, after which she will join a panel on Restorative Justice that will discuss a judge's role in facilitating the healing process among the parties as an integral component of court adjudications. The day will conclude with an update on Immigration issues and discussion of President Obama's Executive Order.

All agree that one of the true benefits and delights of an NAWJ conference is the opportunity for judges, lawyers, sponsors and guests to gather, socialize and network. We are deeply indebted to the Jenner & Block firm for hosting our Thursday evening reception in their lovely offices. On Friday, we will again gather for a truly engaging tour of the river that runs through the city by the Chicago Architecture Foundation before the Dine Around that evening.

I want to specially acknowledge Judge Ann Breen - Greco, Local Planning Chair, with whom I worked closely in making my vision of this conference a reality. Judge Breen-Greco and her local planning committee worked tirelessly to successfully engage an impressive array of Illinois judges and lawyers to participate in this conference. We also greatly appreciative the contributions of our corporate sponsors, Friends Committee, Resource Board members, and for the resourcefulness and tireless dedication of our stellar NAWJ staff: Craig Evans, Lavinia Cousin and Mary-Kathleen Todd, led by our exceptional Executive Director, Marie Komisar.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!


Judge Julie E. Frantz

President's Calendar:
April 15-17: Participation in the Women's Power Summit on Law and Leadership sponsored by the Center for Women in Law in Austin, Texas
April 22-25: NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois
May 8: Speaker at the Oregon Women Lawyers monthly meeting to speak about NAWJ

Vicky Cashman

Photo left: Vicky Cashman (far left) at the NAWJ Annual Conference in Indianapolis (2004).
Photo middle: Vicky introduces herself at NAWJ's 2008 meeting with the Congressional Women's Caucus in Washington, D.C.
Photo right: Vicky (middle) at the NAWJ Annual in Portland (2008).

From LexisNexis:
With great sadness, we inform you that longstanding NAWJ supporter Vicky Cashman died on April 13. Vicky had cancer, and on April 3, she chose hospice care. She died at home surrounded by family. She kept her medical issues to herself because she wished to continue her work for as long as possible. Her work with courts, court technology and the judiciary was her passion.

A memorial is planned for Vicky Friday, May 8 at Holy Family Parish in Middletown, Ohio. In lieu of flowers and cards, Vicky asks that you consider a memorial donation to the Parish or Hospice Care of Middletown.

Since 1990, Victoria (Vicky) S. Cashman built longstanding involvement with NAWJ, and was founding chair of the NAWJ Resource Board. In 2003, she headed Cashman & Associates, which specialized in the innovative use of technology in the courts and showcased Vicky's professional, broad experience in the cyberspace world of legal information. She was an executive with LexisNexis at its Dayton, Ohio headquarters from 1983 to 1998 serving as Director of Judicial Information Services. In furtherance of Ms. Cashman's avid interest in the rule of law, she was involved with numerous organizations focused on improving administration of justice. She was with the National Center for State Courts in Denver and Williamsburg from 1975 to 1982. Active in the ABA Judicial Division, Vicky authored articles appearing in Judges Journal and State Court Journal, and she was editor of the ABA's State Court Organization Profile Series. She was principal author of a Monograph on Drug Court Management Information Systems published by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1995, she had a USAID appointment to the Ministry of Justice of Latvia.

Vicky was the 1996 recipient of NAWJ's Florence K. Murray Award, which is presented to someone, who by example or otherwise, has influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women attorneys, or advanced opportunities for women within the legal profession, and is not a judge. She was the founding Co-Chair of the Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology, and Executive Committee member of the Council for Court Excellence in Washington, D.C. She also served as Director of the Justice Management Institute in Denver. She was an enthusiastic Board member of the Council for Court Excellence in Washington, D.C. since 1989, and founding chair of the Council's Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT). Ms. Cashman earned her B.A. from Ohio University and her M.A. from Saint Louis University.

NAWJ Meets with the Congressional Women's Caucus
July 9th on Capitol Hill • Noon-1:30 PM

This summer, on July 9th NAWJ will meet with available members of the Congressional Women's Caucus on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building. NAWJ President Judge Julie Frantz will join Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Representative Doris O. Matsui (D-CA) in chairing this year's meeting. The meeting is open to any and all members, though members will need to bear any costs associated with attending on their own. Stay tuned for further details as the program develops, and logistics are finalized.

American Bar Association Section of Litigation
Recognizes Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson
with its 2015 Diversity Leadership Award

Longtime NAWJ member and Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson was presented the 2015 Diversity Leadership Award by the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Litigation during the Diversity Leadership & John Minor Wisdom Awards Luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans on April 16, 2015.

"The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes individuals or entities who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting full and equal participation in the legal community through encouragement and inclusion of women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and/or persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities. Chief Justice Johnson is well-deserving of this recognition," said Nancy Scott Degan, Chair, ABA Section of Litigation.

Chief Justice Johnson served as co-chair for NAWJ's 2013 Annual Conference in New Orleans. That year she was honored as the Joan Dempsey Klein Award, which honors NAWJ co-founder Justice Joan Dempsey Klein who assisted women judges to become more proficient in their profession, helped to solve the legal, social and ethical problems associated with the judiciary, and worked to increase the number of women serving as judges.

Vice President of Publications Judge Diana Becton
Calls for Submissions for the Next Issue of Counterbalance
Deadline: May 15, 2015

Counterbalance informs and connects our members around the country by featuring news and information which highlights NAWJ's activities. Share news from your jurisdiction with fellow members in the newsletter. If women judges in your state who have been recently elected, appointed, promoted or honored, let us know. If you have articles, announcements, book reviews, or events that you would like included in Counterbalance, please pass them along as well. NAWJ will also publish essays and articles of interest which are in accord with our mission. Anybody can share news in Counterbalance. The deadline for submitting information for the next issue of Counterbalance is MAY 15, 2015. Look for the spring issue later in the summer. Those interested in submitting material should do so by emailing all text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at Please also copy Judge Becton at

The International Association of Women Judges
is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director

The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) is a non-profit, non-government, non-partisan organization of more than 4,000 members at all judicial levels in more than 80 nations. Since forming in 1991, IAWJ has brought together women judges from diverse legal-judicial systems to share knowledge through judicial training programs and international collaboration on a range of topics related to the rule of law, access to justice, the independence of the judiciary, equal justice and human rights, especially the rights of women. IAWJ seeks to be an international leader and source of information for its members and others on human rights, particularly judicial issues and decisions, and the rights of women and girls.

We are looking for a professional Executive Director with:
• Commitment to the mission and values of IAWJ,
• Proven fundraising ability, from grantmaking institutions, governments, and individuals and ability to identify and develop relationships with key donors,
• Management and program experience,
• Ability to operate in cross-cultural and multilingual international settings,
• Legal background and language abilities (English required) preferred.

Download the full job description here. For additional information please visit the IAWJ website

The National Bar Association
is seeking an Executive Director

The National Bar Association (NBA) is seeking an Executive Director to serve as the chief operating executive of the corporation responsible for the overall administration, supervision of work, programmatic design and implementation. This individual provides direction and leadership of the association, and serves as an ambassador, as directed by the President, Executive Committee, or the Board of Governors to achieve various organizational objectives. The Executive Director maintains relationships with other organizations, such as corporate partners, bar associations and governmental entities.

Click here for more details.

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. Membership to the NBA is open to law students, lawyers, judges, educators, paralegals, and anyone currently contributing to the legal profession.

The mission of the National Bar Association "...shall be to advance the science of jurisprudence; improve the administration of justice; preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession; to promote professional and social intercourse among the members of the American and the international bars; to promote legislation that will improve the economic condition of all American citizens, regardless of race, sex or creed in their efforts to secure a free and untrammeled use of the franchise guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States; and to protect the civil and political rights of the citizens and residents of the United States."

Women in Prison Committee Members Visit Sister Megan Rice

Women in Prison Committee members Judge Cheryl J. Gonzales, Chair of the New York Chapter of NAWJ's WIP, Judge Robin S. Garson, and NAWJ WIP Co-Chairs, Judge Brenda P. Murray and Judge Betty J. Williams, visited the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, New York, on March 20, 2015. A report of their visit may be found here. Last month, NAWJ ran NPR's story on the plight of Sister Megan Rice, and other women in prison, in the Monthly Update (the story is below.) In part of a letter to friends, Sister Rice expressed gratitude for NAWJ's visit, and the opportunity to talk with judges who are concerned. Read her letter here.

NPR Airs Segment Raising NAWJ's Work on Women in Prison. Supporters Say Imprisoned Nun Is Being Held In 'Unfair' Conditions. (Click here to hear segment, or read text below.)

Megan Rice celebrated her 85th birthday last week - in a high-rise detention center in Brooklyn. The Catholic nun is serving nearly three years in prison for evading security and painting peace slogans on the walls of a nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Sister Rice is far from the only religious figure to run into legal trouble. There's a long tradition of Catholic clergy protesting nuclear weapons, from the Berrigan brothers in the 1980s to the fictional nun Jane Ingalls, featured in the series Orange is the New Black.

(Photo caption: Sister Megan Rice ahead of her 2013 trial in Washington, D.C. In 2012, she and fellow anti-nuclear activists successfully broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to draw the world's attention to the danger of nuclear weapons.)

Sister Rice, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, spent decades working and teaching in Africa. She too has a long history of protest, even before she allegedly joined two men to throw human blood and write slogans on a building that houses enriched uranium in 2012.

Now, from inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, Sister Rice is continuing her own brand of activism. With the help of friends and advocates including the National Association of Women Judges, Sister Rice is drawing attention to conditions inside U.S. corrections facilities.

She and a few hundred others had been set to live in a women's prison in Danbury, Connecticut, the same one that served as a model for Orange is the New Black. After authorities decided to overhaul that facility, the Catholic nun was sent to what was supposed to be a temporary holding center.

Hon. Brenda Murray, a federal administrative law judge, has been closely following Sister Rice's case because one of her friends entered the convent at the same time.

"It seems ridiculous to put somebody like that long term on the ninth floor of a high-rise building," Murray says. "I mean, that was supposed to be a temporary situation 'til we resolved Danbury, and it isn't been temporary. And it just is unfair."

A high rise might sound luxurious. But in this case, friends say, more than 100 women share six bathrooms.

A study by the Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School says the detention center in Brooklyn has much less to offer than the one in Connecticut.

Pat McSweeney, a retired ninth-grade English teacher, knows that firsthand. McSweeney befriended Sister Rice years ago at a protest. She describes the Brooklyn holding center as "like a big cement box, huge." McSweeney visits when she can, and keeps in touch by phone or e-mail. "When I've asked her a couple of times if she can go outside, no she can't," McSweeney says.

Sister Rice insists she's fine, but friends say conditions in the Brooklyn facility are taking a toll on her. For one thing, the cap came off her front tooth months ago. "There was a long time when she was carrying the cap around in her pocket," McSweeney says, "and then I think she did see someone and it was on, when her niece from Boston visited her, but it must have come off again."

Things are even more complicated when it comes to women's health care behind bars. That's because advocates say every facet of the Bureau of Prisons system was designed for men, even though women are very different. "The majority, the vast majority of women in federal prisons, are not violent offenders," says retired federal appeals court judge Hon. Pat Wald. Judge Wald says research demonstrates that incarcerated women need time with family members and friends, and special programs to help them get ready to leave prison. She says those are programs that seem to be unavailable for Sister Rice and others locked up in the Brooklyn facility.

Yale Law School Professor Judith Resnik has been studying prisons for more than 30 years. She says the best solution is for authorities to look, case by case, at the inmates holed up in Brooklyn.

"A national review of those incarcerated with the end state of asking who need not be here or who could be in a less secure facility would be the desired end state," Resnik says. For Megan Rice, that question could be moot by November. That's when the Bureau of Prisons web site says she's scheduled for release.

Voices of Justice:
Keeping the Promise of the Rule of Law by Enhancing Judicial Diversity
NAWJ Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference
April 23-25, 2015 • Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton Hotel
Download the brochure here and share with friends.

Conference Chair
Judge Julie Frantz

Local Planning Committee
Judge Ann Breen-Greco (Chair) • Judge Joy Airaudi • Judge Helaine Berger • Judge Cheryl Cesario
• Judge Margaret Fitzpatrick • Judge Renee Goldfarb • Judge Sophia H. Hall • Judge Pam Meyerson •
Judge Patricia Ball Reed • Judge Dominique Ross • Judge Audrey Wade

Conference Honorary Host Committee
Justice Anne Burke • Judge Virginia Kendall • Judge Joan Lefkowitz • Diane Wood

(Check back here for more detail.)

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Laurel G. Bellows
Gang Involvement in Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking: What Judges Can Do
The Nuts and Bolts of NAWJ's "Informed Voters, Fair Judges" Project:
A Discussion on how to Educate Voters About the Importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary
Reception at Jenner & Block

NAWJ Resource Board Meeting
Breakfast with Guest Speaker Judge Ruben Castillo
Women in the Legal Profession
Access to Justice Through Diverse Leadership: Appointing Women to Board and Commissions
Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Cheryl Brown Henderson
Restorative Justice: Judges Working with the Community to Heal Injustice
Architectural Riverboat Tour

District Directors Breakfast Meeting
NAWJ Board of Directors Meeting

$425 for NAWJ Members ($375 Early bird rate until February 13)
$525 for Non-Member Attendees ($475 Early bird rate until February 13)
$325 Guest Rate (spouse and children of attendees)

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

ROOM RESERVATIONS: Click here or call (877) 865-5321
NAWJ Rate: $195(1 bathroom) or $215 (2 bathroom)/night, plus applicable taxes.

Hon. Michele Christiansen, Utah Court of Appeals
Hon. Sharon McCully (Retired), 3rd District Juvenile Court

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

Peggy Hunt, Esq., Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Tom Langhorne, Utah Administrative Office of the Courts
Hon. Sandra Peuler, Third District Court, Utah
Noella A. Sudbery, Esq., Zimmerman Jones Booher LLC
Hon. Kate Toomey, Utah Court of Appeals
Juliette Palmer White, Esq., Parsons, Behle & Latimer

Tammy G. Georgelas, Esq., Snow Christensen & Martineau
Margaret N. McGann, Esq., Parsons Behle & Latimer


Optional Tours
Film Screening of the First 100
International Judges Reception
New Judges/First-Time Attendee Reception
Welcome Reception

Gender Bias: How Far Have We Come in 25 Years?
Same Sex Marriage Issues
Impact of Media/Social Media on High Profile Cases
Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline
Beginning of Life and End of Life Issues
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
Judge Susan Carbon (Retired) on Domestic Violence
Predictable Misjudgment: How Intuition Misleads Judges
Federal Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner
Where Are We Almost 50 Years After In Re Gault?
Judicial Reception at the Federal Courthouse

Annual NAWJ Business Meeting
Diane Hamilton on Mindfulness
Deborah Jiang-Stein on Women in Prison
Annual NAWJ Gala Banquet

Live broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word featuring The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

$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:
Hon. Michele Christiansen at
Hon. Sharon McCully at
Conference Manager: Mary Kathleen Todd at

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

San Diego's 5th Annual Color of Justice program will take place April 17 in the Hall of Justice.

Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA and NAWJ join to present Color of Justice on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York.

NAWJ will hold its 2015 Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference from April 23-24, 2015 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

The California Women Lawyers and Queen's Bench will present a Color of Justice program in San Francisco on April 29 for high school students.

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.

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