On March 11, 2019, I was honored to represent NAWJ, along with members Judge Bernadette D'Souza
(President-Elect), Commissioner Pennie McLaughlin (Programs Chair), Judge Marian Gaston (Superior
Court of California, County of San Diego), Judge Henry Ipema (Ret.) and attorney Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi,
at the 63rd Session of the United
Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) held in New York City from March 11 to 22. Also
attending the conference were forty (40) IAWJ international sister judges from around the world,
including IAWJ President, Judge Vanessa Ruiz, and IAWJ Human Rights Director, Anne Goldstein. The
Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1946 to serve as a global policy-making body
dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and the employment of women. This year's themes
were "social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender
equality and the empowerment of women and girls." I cannot adequately describe in words the positive
energy and excitement in the air inside the UN building in New York City, and also in conference
venues around town. More than 10,000 representatives of NGOs from around the world participated at CSW63
in various parallel events in the city.
Furthermore, IAWJ President Judge Vanessa Ruiz invited NAWJ members to participate in official CSW
educational events with UN officials, and in a private IAWJ roundtable discussion with the President of
the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés. As "Global Judicial Leaders," we in NAWJ are
involved in world's affairs and participate in discussions that concern the welfare, safety, and security
of all women and girls around the world. We strive to continue to educate, and be educated, about global
issues, and to teach, mentor, and model to all. Our NAWJ President-Elect Judge D'Souza shared her judicial
expertise as part of panel on issues relating to Domestic Violence at this year's CSW63 conference. The
United Nations Association (UNA) and its San Diego Chapter, in collaboration with NAWJ, extended an
invitation to NAWJ San Diego and UNA San Diego Chapter members to attend this conference in New York City
as delegates. Several other San Diego UNA members were also in attendance at CSW63.
NAWJ continues to work to obtain delegate status for the next United Nations Commission on the Status of
Women conference. This would allow NAWJ to send delegates to the conference and participate as full partners
on educational panels.
On March 21, I had the great honor of participating in an amazing "#WETOO in the Legal Workplace" one-day
conference in Sacramento, co-chaired by Judges Joan Weber and Paula Rosenstein of the San Diego Superior Court.
NAWJ California members met with members of the Legislative Women's Caucus, State Senate Pro Tempore Toni G.
Atkins, and Chief Justice of California, the Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, who discussed their efforts to
curb sexual harassment and assault in the state capitol and in its courts. We also heard from three amazing
employment experts, including NAWJ Resource Board member Kelly Dermody, Esq., and NAWJ members Jerrilyn
Malana, Esq. and Judge Wendy Coats. They discussed how we can improve the training and education of employees,
judicial officers, and legislators towards eradicating harassment in the California workplace.
NAWJ stands ready to assist as needed to help bring such training programs to your district or State. Our
hope is that all of our 14 districts will continue to or seek to put educational programs like this together.
NAWJ is the leading voice in women in the judiciary and acting together we will continue to serve our communities.
We want to hear about all the wonderful work you are doing in your communities. Please write to us and share
your efforts in local activities, whether as organizer or participant. You all make such a huge difference.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment to NAWJ. Please be reminded that our membership drive is
on-going, and we encourage you to reach out and bring in at least one member in April.
Tamila E. Ipema
Hon. Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema
Judge of California Superior Court, San Diego County
NAWJ Board Leadership Summit
San Diego, California | April 24-26, 2019
Leadership Luncheon | April 26, 2019 | US Grant Hotel
The National Association of Women Judges' Board of Directors will conduct a Leadership Summit
convening current NAWJ board members and former presidents. The Summit will allow the gathering
to brainstorm and discuss issues related to furthering NAWJ's mission and to continue strategic
planning for a sustainable future. San Diego's Hall of Justice will be the forum for the Summit,
the first session of which will run Wednesday, April 24th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and continue
Thursday, April 25th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pmm.
NAWJ's Board of Directors will hold its annual midyear meeting on Friday, April 26th from 9:00 am
to 12:00 pm, also at the Hall of Justice.
Keynote Luncheon will follow the board's midyear meeting from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the
U.S. Grant Hotel. Speakers include Justice Martin J. Jenkins (Ret.), Judicial
Appointments Secretary for California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Diane A. Bellas,
Chair of The State Bar of California's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, with
Presiding Justice Judith McConnell, California Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate
District, Division One) serving as moderator.
The Luncheon is open to everyone - members, local jurists and attorneys, commissioners, law clerks, and law students.
here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and questions.
There are no educational sessions planned for this year's midyear events. The event will adjourn after the Luncheon.
DISTRICT SIX DIRECTOR JUDGE SHEVA SIMS CHAIRS SECOND DISTRICT
CONFERENCE IN SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
BUILDS SUPPORT FOR SKILLS TRAINING FOR WOMEN IN PRISON
(Photos from the Awards and Recognition Dinner.)
For the second year in a row, NAWJ District Six Director Sheva Sims (Shreveport City Court, LA)
welcomed over 75 judges, attorneys, government officials, university personnel, high school and
law students to "Visionary Women Champions of Perseverance, Persistence and Progress," a district
conference of the community. Events were held across a variety of venues in including Huntington
High School, Shreveport City Court, Southern University, Morningstar Baptist Church, and The
Petroleum Club. You can view video scenes form the conference in Shreveport
Attorney Felicia M. Hamilton, who organized this year's local
scholarship program, awarded Visionary
Women: Champions of Perseverance, Persistence and Progress Scholarships to the following students:
1) $1000 Scholarships: Allison Payne, Loyola University New Orleans
College of Law; Zakia Nesbitt, Louisiana State University; Monette Davis, Southern University
Law Center; and 2) Honorable Mention $300: Shearil Matthews, Southern University Law Center;
Lauren Grant, Southern University Law Center; Kaylin Jolivette, Louisiana State University;
and Brittney Esie, Louisiana State University.
PHOTO SCENES - NAWJ CALIFORNIA HOLDS INSPIRING WETOO PROGRAM IN
ITS STATE CAPITOL
(Download the program
PHOTO SCENES FROM THE 63RD SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON THE
STATUS OF WOMEN AT THE UNITED NATIONS, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PANEL
NAWJ President-Elect Judge Bernadette D'Souza, Family Court Judge for the Civil District Court for
the Parish of Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana, participated as a panelist on Integrated Domestic
Violence Courts. The panel was sponsored by the ABA, and co-sponsored by NAWJ District Two (New York
and Vermont). Additional panelists included Justice Tandra L. Dawson (New York State Supreme Court,
New York County), Liberty Aldrich (Managing Director and General Counsel, Center for Court Innovation),
and Bernice K. Leber (Partner, Arent Fox LLP; ABA Representative to the UN, Chair of ABA Representative
and Observers). Beth L. Kaufman (Partner, Schoeman Updike Kaufman & Gerber LLP; ABA Alternate
Representative to the UN Department of Public Information) was the moderator.
NAWJ NEW YORK HOSTS UNITED NATIONS DELEGATION
(Photo and report from Queens Court Daily)
On March 15, 2019, a United Nations Delegation of
Women Judges from around the world visited a Human Trafficking Intervention Court in Queens. Judge
Carmen Velasquez organized the group's visit to observe the inner workings of U.S. courts. Judge
Edwina Mendelson's (Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, Court of Claims)
vision and assistance made possible for the international judges to be able to participate in this
most important worldwide program. Judge Toko Serita who presides in Queens Human Trafficking
Intervention Court allowed the visiting women judges to observe her court and lead a discussion
of the inner workings of the Human Trafficking Intervention Court. The discussion began with
welcoming remarks by Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler, Chief of Policy and Planning, and Criminal Court
Supervising Judge Michelle Johnson. Discussion included presentations by Judge Serita, an Assistant
District Attorney, Legal Aid, and other providers. The Criminal Court arraignment part was
presided by Judge Karina Alomar. (Photo: from left - Justice Carmen Velasquez (Supreme Court of
New York, Queens County) who organized the program; IAWJ President Vanessa Ruiz (District of
Columbia Court of Appeals); Judge Toko Serita (Criminal Court of the City of New York) who
presides over Human Trafficking Court, and Justice Sherry Klein Heitler who oversees all project
On March 12, 2019 international women judges met at the
United Nations with the President of the General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinoza who is the fourth
woman in the history of the United Nations to hold that position, and also the first Latin American.
During the meeting, judges from around the world discussed their own countries' initiatives. The
topic of discussion was "Courts and Access to Public Services: Global Perspectives from Women Judges."
Representing the United States were IAWJ President Judge Vanessa Ruiz, and the Hon. Edwina Mendelson.
Facilitating the meeting were Justice Carmen Velasquez, Judge Mary Margaret Rowland (Summit
County Common Pleas Court, Ohio), and Judge Lizette Sheridan-Harris (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas).
NAWJ NEW YORK WOMEN IN PRISON COMMITTEE CELEBRATES
PASSAGE OF STATE LEGISLATION ALLOWING JUDICIAL
DISCRETION IN SENTENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS,
LIGHTS HOPE FOR EFFORTS IN MARYLAND
Last month, as one of the earliest groups of supporters of the Domestic Violence Survivors
Justice Act, members of NAWJ New York's Women in Prison Committee celebrated final passage
of a bill that allows for judicial discretion when sentencing survivors of domestic violence
who have been convicted of crimes directly related to abuse. The bill creates a strict
three-part test to determine if defendants are eligible for sentencing under this statute.
It also includes a retroactivity provision that would allow currently incarcerated survivors
who meet the same three-part test, the opportunity to apply for resentencing. (The bill was
sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signature. Read Justice Betty William's letter to the
The Committee learned of the news from Jaya Vasandani, Co-Director of the Women & Justice
Project. In 2007, Ms. Vasandani was a recipient of an NAWJ Access to Justice Scholarship while
a student at Benjamin N. Cordozo School of Law. She is a member of NAWJ.
Around the same time, NAWJ Maryland's Women in Prison Committee member Judge Cathy Hollenberg
Serrette alerted fellow committee members and NAWJ Executive Director Connie Pillich that the Maryland
House Judiciary Committee will review
several bills on issues of increasing plague to incarcerated women in Maryland:
restricting the use of solitary confinement during pregnancy(HB 745); addressing issues related to
disability, suicide and segregation (HB775); restricting use of solitary confinement and segregation
for children (HB 1001); providing for transitional services for inmates within 180 days of release
(HB1002); and providing for procedures and services vis-a-vis seclusion (HB1029). NAWJ Executive
Director Connie Pillich sent a letter to Maryland's Judiciary Committee Chair informing the Committee that
NAWJ is ready to offer any knowledge and support in review.
EXPERTS ON THE EFFECTS OF INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE
FIND THEIR WAY TO THE COURTROOM
As mentioned earlier in this Update, efforts to devise strategies to mitigate further
harm and loss to women who end up in jail due to acts of violence to deter and stop
abuse to themselves, are now manifesting in legislation.
New York's Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act will "allow judges to issue
shorter prison terms to survivors of domestic violence who were convicted of crimes
directly related to the abuse they suffered. In some cases, such individuals could be
sentenced to community-based alternatives to incarceration programs instead of prison."
Strategies are also appearing in the courtroom.
has long noted the many women incarcerated due to committing violent acts against intimate
partners in response to enduring years of abuse. In a recent case in Louisiana, an expert was called to share testimony on the
effects of this type of trauma from battery after the woman who was incarcerated was found
to have insufficient counsel. From NOLA.COM:
The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed Curley's [the incarcerated woman] conviction last June
and granted her a new trial, saying she lacked "effective assistance of counsel" during the
Renaldo Curley, Catina's husband of more than nine years, had a documented history of
beating her before she shot him through the heart with a .357 Magnum revolver on March 30, 2005,
at their Little Woods-area home. Defense attorney John Fuller never called an expert on battered
woman syndrome to the stand in her 2007 trial.
The Supreme Court said in granting Curley a new trial it is necessary to bring in expert witnesses
to testify about battering and its effects "to help jurors and judges understand the experiences,
beliefs and perceptions of women who are beaten by their intimate partners - information the
common lay person usually does not possess." The condition has been described by experts as a
type of post-traumatic stress disorder, and can lead to changes in abuse victims' behavior,
DISTRICT ONE MEMBERSHIP RECEPTION AT
THE OYSTER HOUSE IN BOSTON
ABA SECTION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW HONORS JUDGE LINDA MURNANE
WITH ITS 2019 MAYRE RASMUSSEN AWARD FOR THE
ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
This year, the
of International Law will present its Mayre Rasmussen Award to NAWJ member Judge Linda S.
Murnane, Colonel, United States Air Force (Retired). The award recognizes distinguished lawyers
who have demonstrated a career-long commitment to advancing opportunities for women in international law.
The award will be presented to Judge Murnane on April 11, 2019 at the Section's Thursday Luncheon
which takes place from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Presidential Ballroom of the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Find more information on the Section's 2019 Annual Conference
YOUR VOICE MATTERS:
INFORMED VOTERS PROJECT CREATES AN ANIMATED VIDEO
(Click to here to view.)
This short video primer explains the role of judges in our society, how they obtain judicial appointments,
the elections that provide citizens a vote in their retention, and the importance of an independent
judiciary. Click here to view.
SAVE-THE-DATE | JUNE 10-11, 2019 | NEW YORK CITY
Global Judicial Leadership Conference
DAY ONE-UNITED NATIONS
An NAWJ, International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, and Columbia
University School of International and Public Affairs, Collaborative on Human Rights of All Women
A collaboration of NAWJ and the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development
• A Tour of the United Nations
• Opening Ceremony and Keynote Luncheon Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations
• Plenary Panels of UN Experts Discussing Solutions for Global Issues Relating to Sexual
Harassment, Assault and Violence Against Women
DAY TWO-COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
A Collaboration of Columbia Law School and Columbia School of International and Public Affairs
• Plenary Panels on Global Women's Human Rights Issues
• Keynote Speaker Luncheon
Details to follow. For more information contact NAWJ President Tamila E. Ipema at
Take advantage of early bird registration today!
Don't miss out!
(Developing, as of April 3)
Linda Greenhouse - New York Times Reporter
Erwin Chemerinsky - Dean, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Sexual Harassment and Me Too
Orange is the New Black - LGBTQ Issues
Challenging Times for the Independence of the Judiciary - Administrative Judiciary
The Innocence Project
The Play, Sisters in Law
Independent Voters Project
Science for Judges: Unique Concerns in DNA Testing
Military Sexual Trauma . . . Women Assaulted in the Military - Recourse
Western Justice Center - A Play
Registration fees include keynotes, education sessions, receptions, meals, transportation to
events listed in the program and use of the hospitality suite.
Registrants may cancel until September 15, 2019. All cancellations are subject to a $50 processing fee.
Requests for cancellation on or after September 16, 2019 will not receive a refund. All third-party payments
are subject to the same policy.
HOW TO REGISTER
to register online. Or, download and complete
this registration form
and email to email@example.com. Mail completed form to:
National Association of Women Judges
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1138
Washington, D.C. 20036
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS
April 8, 2019. Texas Women Judges Day at the State Capitol. Activities include a meeting,
recognition in the Senate, group photo on the Capitol steps, reception in the Judicial Conference room.
RSVP to Megan LaVoie at Megan.LaVoie@txcourts.gov.
April 9, 2019. Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children workshop at 1:30 pm, a program on
the agenda of the ABA National Conference on Access to Justice for Children and Families in Tyson Corners,
Virginia. Speakers include Judge Cathy Hollenberg Serrette. More
April 12, 2019. NAWJ San Diego present Color of Justice at the North County Regional
Center in Vista from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
April 16, 2019. Judge Yvette Alexander Chairs
Color of Justice Program at Southern University Law Center on Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
April 23, 2019. NAWJ San Francisco presents its Bi-Annual Color of Justice Program hosting
approximately 85 students from San Francisco's
Balboa High School and
The Academy SF @ McAteer, and Oakland's
Holy Names High School.
April 24-26, 2019. NAWJ Board Leadership Summit (closed) from Wednesday, April 24 to
Thursday, April 25; NAWJ Board Meeting (closed) on April 26; and Keynote Luncheon (open to all) on April 26 in San Diego.
April 25-26, 2019. Europe, Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference of the
International Association of Women Judges will be held in Madrid, Spain.
April 30-May 2, 2019. Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges
will hold its Annual Meeting Halifax, Nova Scotia.
May 1, 2019: NAWJ District 11 is sponsoring a Color of Justice program at the University
of Texas Law School. A slate of judges and lawyers will speak to middle schoolers from the city. Contact
District Director Judge Brandy Mueller at Brandy.Mueller@traviscountytx.gov.
May 5-12, 2019. NAWJ Cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg on the AmaCerto with Amawaterways Cruise Line.
May 14, 2019: NAWJ collaborates with
White & Case LLP
to present Color of Justice for seventh and eighth grade students at the
Washington School for Girls in Washington, D.C.
June 3-7, 2019. 16th African Regional Conference of the of the International Association of
Women Judges will be held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
June 10-11, 2019. Global Judicial Leadership Conference: An NAWJ, United Nations, and
Columbia University Collaboration on Human Rights of All Women. New York City. Contact Judge Tamila E. Ipema,
NAWJ President at Tamila.Ipema@sdcourt.ca.gov.
August 2, 2019. NAWJ San Diego will conduct a re-entry program for women n prison,
Success Inside and Out, at the Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility in San Diego. Chairs include San Diego
Commissioner Terrie Roberts and San Diego Superior Court Research Attorney Nadia Keilani.
October 15-19, 2019. NAWJ 41st Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California at the Omni
at California Plaza. Conference Chair Judge Anne Elizabeth White contact
May 7-10, 2020. IAWJ's 15th Biennial Conference: "Celebrating Diversity" hosted by the
New Zealand Association of Women Judges in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand.
October 12-16, 2020. NAWJ 42nd Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.