NAWJ Monthly Update November 2015

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

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November 2015

In This Issue:

National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Lisa Walsh
NAWJ President

Dear Members,

It was wonderful to see so many of you in October at our beautiful 37th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. We enjoyed a robust assortment of substantive programs, lovely receptions, the extraordinary hospitality of the Utah bench and bar, a gorgeous venue and setting, and the joy of each other's company. Led by Co-Chairs Judges Michelle Christiansen and Sharon McCully (ret.), the Annual Conference Committee did a stellar job bringing us cutting-edge judicial education, programming and receptions. Many of us know well the amount of labor, time and effort it takes to rally the support of your community and to produce a well-run and successful conference, and you should feel so proud to have accomplished what was one of our finest conferences to date. We are so proud of our 2015 award winners, Justice Shirley Abramson, Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Karen Johnson-McKewan, Esq., and Cathy Winter. Click here to see a full write up on each award recipient and photographs from the award ceremony.

With each year and at each venue, we are so fortunate to continue to develop as judges and leaders, to make a difference for the populations we serve and to fulfill our mission in so many ways. This past year, President Julie Frantz fulfilled her theme of "Keeping the Promise of the Rule of Law through Enhancing Diverse Judicial Leadership" in many ways. The examples are too numerous to recount in a brief message, but I will share a few.

Judge Frantz's Midyear Meeting and Leadership Conference in Chicago featured practical educational solutions for judges to use. Panels included a nuts and bolts guide to becoming a trained speaker for our Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project. Another panel explored the ways in which judges may address human trafficking issues in our courts. The session on "Access to Justice through Diverse Leadership" again presented real-world strategies to increase the appointment of women and minorities to boards and commissions and as special masters and receivers in court. Beyond the Midyear, Judge Frantz restructured many of the critical documents which provide the framework for our organization. In short, Judge Frantz has made innumerable contributions to NAWJ, the results of which will be enjoyed for many years to come. We are also fortunate to have an extraordinary Board of Directors which include an Executive Committee and District Directors, and staff who represent the best that this nation has to offer, and have worked in tandem with Judge Frantz and our full Board to ensure the success of our conferences, programs, projects and committees.

I have learned so much from each iconic woman who has led NAWJ. Each woman has placed her unique mark upon this organization and its members. It is critical in the coming year that I remain mindful of the changes wrought by each past leader for the betterment of NAWJ and that I carry that chain of leadership forward into a better future. Thus, I have chosen my theme, "Securing the Future for Women and Girls," to focus upon how we may ensure that NAWJ's mission and its concomitant goals may be achieved in the future. I was inspired toward this theme because it is compelled by our mission and entrenched in our existing and developing programs, initiatives, and education:

• To secure a diverse future membership of our profession, we have consistently reached out to young girls, minorities, and other historically disfavored groups through our Color of Justice program. We can continue our outreach into communities to encourage diverse young people to consider careers in the law.
• To ensure diversity on the bench in our future, our Annual Conference in Seattle in 2016, themed "Faces of Justice," will focus on that important objective of promoting judicial diversity. Our legitimacy as a branch depends in part upon who serves the bench. We will add to our existing programs such as From the Bar to the Bench, MentorJet and Color of Justice to create a pilot to develop strategies to promote judicial diversity within our communities.
• To ensure our commitment to disrupt the flow of our women and girls into sex and labor trafficking, we have published our updated program manual for Trafficking in Persons - Modern Day Slavery available here. With the generous support of SJI, we will continue to educate our members at our conferences and work cooperatively with other organizations around the country to address this issue in our courts.
• To secure the future for a strong rule of law both at home and abroad, NAWJ is the proud host of the IAWJ 13th Biennial Conference to be held May 26-29, 2016 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., where we will welcome 700 judges from around the world to interface on the role of women in the rule of law.
• To ensure meaningful access to justice, we must focus upon the populations we serve and whether our judicial systems adequately address the cases that affect their lives and families. We should consider expanding our programming to develop better ways to serve our litigants, who are, increasingly, unrepresented.
• We aspire to a future where there is no gender gap for women in our profession. We have provided education and highlighted ways in which judges may affect the role of women in their firms. We can do more to develop our own scholarship to persuade law firm leaders to work to retain well-qualified women lawyers.
• To better keep women safe on our college campuses, we can work on educational programs to ensure that quasi-judicial systems guarantee fair process for all.
• To secure the future for fair and free courts, we can support our Informed Voters Project, and work as speakers and civic educators of voters. Please explore the latest developments of the IVP materials here.
• We have consistently abided by our commitment to social justice in addressing issues affecting our women prison population, especially those separated from their children and families. At our 2015 Annual Conference, we discussed disrupting the school to prison pipeline, and the challenges that young women in prison must face. Still pending reopening of the women's facility in Danbury, we must continue to work to ensure humane treatment of the female prison population in the Northeast, among many other important issues.
• And finally, to secure NAWJ's future, I have created an ad hoc Sustainability Committee, which will research and recommend a long-range plan to secure a future for NAWJ which is sustainable and stable.

The level of our commitment and involvement is daunting. We in NAWJ will continue to work to further the causes so essential to a better profession, and a more just world.

Thank you for this opportunity for an unparalleled year in NAWJ. I hope you will join me in moving NAWJ forward to a just and sustainable future for all. Sincerely Yours,

Lisa Walsh
President, NAWJ
Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade, Florida

Alaska Holds its 10th Annual Success Inside and Out
Program at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center

Click here to view more photos, and read more on the conference

Read KTUU reporter Samantha Angaiak'a account below, and see what NAWJ Past President Justice Dana Fabe has to say about the program.

Life after incarceration: How a group of women prepare for release

On Saturday 100 women prisoners at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center learned some of the tools they will need to be successful and productive when they get out of prison. The 'Success Inside and Out' program began in 2006, guiding inmates on how to find housing, transportation and jobs once they leave prison.

Founder Justice Dana Fabe said the goal of the program is to help inmates learn basic life skills that will help keep them from committing new crimes once they're released. "As judges when we sentence offenders or when we affirm convictions of offenders as appellate judges, we hope once those offenders have served their time they're never going to be back in the system again," Fabe said.

Dozens of professionals and leaders from the community made time to share what they know with prisoners who were within a year of being released. Erin Jones who has been at Hiland Mountain since May and incarcerated for the past 17 months said she's anticipating being released at the end of November. "I'm nervous 'cause I don't really have a set plan yet of what I will be doing," Jones said. Jones said her time at the facility helped steer her away from a dark path of drugs. "I've always partied throughout high school and smoked weed and drank and I found out I had kidney failure," Jones said. "I got prescribed opiates and it kind of spiraled out of control from there."

On Saturday, Jones met with Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran, the judge who sentenced Jones to prison 17 months ago. "When I sentenced her she was very angry with me and did not agree with my decision," Moran said. "I told her maybe if you make it through successfully, look for me in October at Success Inside and Out so we can celebrate."

Jones was one of 100 inmates selected to participate in the program. Prisoners are selected for the program based on their progress and participation in classes prior to the application period.

"I was angry, I was sad, it was a really hard day, but now looking back on it I understand kind of her reasoning behind it," Jones said. Moran said she almost didn't recognize Jones when she saw her. "I looked for her right away and I found her and she found me and I said 'So all is good? She said yes. And I'm forgiven? And she said yes' so this has been a wonderful day for me," Moran said.

Jones said she's now focused on learning the tools she needs to succeed from the inside and out.

Justice Fabe will retire in June of 2016, but said she plans to continue working on the program.

"I hope to be involved in this, it's one thing that is one of the most rewarding things I've done as a judge," Fabe said.

Officials say 734 inmates have participated in the program till date.

"Strength in Diversity: Faces of Justice in Florida Courts,"
A New Initiative from Florida

October 29, 2015 at Akerman LLP Miami, NAWJ joined the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association (GSCBWLA), Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Dade County Bar Association and the Cuban American Bar Association to host "Strength in Diversity: Faces of Justice in Florida's Courts." The program featured New York Supreme Court Justice Tanya Kennedy (NAWJ Treasurer), Judge Marcia Cook of the U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, and NAWJ President Judge Lisa Walsh. The program was moderated by Loreal Arscott, GSCBWLA President and Brendalyn Edwards, GSCBWLA President-Elect. NAWJ was joined by key members of the community to work on a strategic action plan to increase racial diversity in Miami's Circuit Court; no women of color has been appointed or elected to the court in 24 years. We left with specific tasks to implement, including placing a diversity initiative on the agenda of business and civic organizations, organizing voluntary bar associations to commit to the diversity principle and publishing it on their websites, developing better relationships in social organizations such as sororities, fraternities and churches, and better marketing strategies for candidates to use for success. Committed organizations are already in place to cultivate qualified candidates for appointment and election. We are most grateful to the continued support and generosity of the Akerman firm, especially to Resource Board Member Elizabeth Hernandez and to Carol Faber for promoting and supporting this initiative and all the work of NAWJ.

Judge Kennedy and Judge Walsh intend to use this template to create a pilot program for use in the districts.

NAWJ Joins the Washington State and Washington State Supreme Court's
Gender & Justice Commission's Women Offenders Conference

NAWJ members participated in the Washington State and Washington State Supreme Court's Gender & Justice Commission, part of the 2015 Women Offenders Conference "Success Inside Out." NAWJ District Director Judge Marilyn Paja (Kitsap County District Court), a member of the Offenders' Planning Committee, presented Mission Creek Corrections for Women's Superintendent Eleanor Vernell with a copy of Deborah Jiang-Stein's book Prison Baby. Ms. Stein spoke at NAWJ's Annual Conference in Salt Lake City last month, and Judge Paja obtained an inscription from her for the book that was directed personally to Superintendent Vernell. A second copy of the book was offered as a submission to the Offender Library.

NAWJ Announces 2015-2015 Board of Directors


Hon. Lisa S. Walsh
Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit
Miami, Florida

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

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

Vice President, Publications
Hon. Beverly Winslow Cutler
Alaska Court System (Retired)

Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy
New York State Supreme Court, New York County
Immediate Past President
Hon. Julie E. Frantz
Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oregon

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

Finance Committee Chair
Hon. Ariane Vuono
Massachusetts Appeals Court

Hon. Joy Cossich Lobrano
Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit
New Orleans, Louisiana

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


District 1 Director
Hon. MaryLou Muirhead
Boston Housing Court

District 2 Director
Hon. Cheryl J. Gonzales
Civil Court, Housing Part
New York

District 3 Director
Hon. Kathryn Hens-Greco
Allegheny County Court of Pleas

District 4 Director
Hon. Heidi M. Pasichow
Superior Court of the District of Columbia

District 5 Director
Hon. Diana S. Eagon
Nokomis, Florida

District 6 Director
Hon. Bernadette G. D'Souza
Orleans Civil District Court Louisiana

District 7 Director
36th District Court
Detroit, Michigan

District 8 Director
Hon. Jane Spencer Craney
Morgan Superior Court 3 Indiana

District 9 Director
Hon. Ellen Levy Siwak
21st Judicial Circuit, Division 11 Missouri
District 10 Director
Hon. Trish Rose, Judge
27th Judicial District of Kansas

District 11 Director
Hon. Rebecca Martinez
Fourth Court of Appeals San Antonio, Texas

District 12 Director
Hon. Terry Fox
Colorado Court of Appeals

District 13 Director
Hon. Marilyn Paja
Kitsap County District Court Washington

District 14 Director
Hon. Anita Santos
Contra Costa County Superior Court

International Director
Hon. Ann Walsh Bradley
Wisconsin Supreme Court
(until May 28, 2016)

Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Judge
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
(after May 28, 2016)

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

President Lisa Walsh Announces Open Recruitment for
NAWJ Committees for 2015-2016

Welcome to another exciting and fulfilling year in NAWJ! In preparation for our coming year, please take a look at the committee list below and reply to both Marie Komisar and me ( and expressing your interest in either leading or serving on a particular committee. For more information on committees and current membership, please review your 2015 Membership Directory, or view 2014-2015 listings online here where all relevant information on committee descriptions, current membership and leadership for the past year are displayed. I will review all submissions and make appointments considering each member's tenure, commitment, leadership ability, geography and diversity. In order that our Membership Directory reach you by 2016, I will need to complete committee assignments promptly. Accordingly, please review our current lists and reply within the next two weeks, by November 13). (Please note, some committees are chaired by status directors, appointed by the President, who serve for two-year terms under the Bylaws, and therefore may not be open for appointment at the present time. Committees with Chairs already in place are noted.)

Administrative Judiciary
Annual Conference Planning (Chairs decided by Justice Susan Owen)
Audit and Compliance
Committee Chairs Coordinator
Conference Site Selection
Conference Scholarships (subcommittee)
Domestic Violence
Fairness and Access
Federal Judges
History Book (Chaired by Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby)
Human Trafficking
IAWJ 2016 Biennial Conference Planning (Chaired by Judge Carolyn Temin, Judge Jane Craney)
Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project
International Courts (subcommittee)
International Outreach (subcommittee)
International Parental Abduction Liaison Network
Judicial Exchanges
Judicial Academic/Education
Judicial Independence
Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare
Media and Public Relations
Membership Outreach and Retention
Mexican Judges (subcommittee)
Military Courts (subcommittee)
New Judges
Nominating (Chaired by NAWJ Past President Judge Julie Frantz)
Personnel Committee (Chaired by Judge Joy Lobrano)
Projects (Chaired by Judge Marcella Holland, Retired)
Retired/Senior Judges
Rural Courts
Strategic Planning (Chaired by Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby)
Tribal Courts (subcommittee)
Women in Prison (Co-Chairs: Federal Judge Brenda Murray, Judge Betty Williams)

I hope to complete assignments by Thanksgiving. If you have any questions, please email me here

Annual Member Data Update

In the next few days, you will receive an email from Lavinia Cousin. The email will contain much of your data NAWJ has on file. It is important that you review this data and report back any and all changes.

This data will be used to publish the 2015 Membership Directory.

Don't miss this important upcoming email.

Calls for Submissions for the Next Issue of Counterbalance
Deadline: November 15, 2015

NAWJ needs to get the next issue out swiftly. Share news from your jurisdiction with fellow members in the newsletter. If you know of 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 NOVEMBER 15, 2015. (Deadline for the issue after this is Spring, 2016.) Those interested in submitting material should do so by emailing all text and picture files to Lavinia Cousin at

Click here to review our Summer 2015 issue.

Economics Institutes for Judges Upcoming Programs
at George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA

The Economics Institutes for Judges is offering education program to be held Sunday, November 8 through Friday, November 13, 2015, at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

Click here for more information on November's programs.

Please do not hesitate to contact the program's Judicial Education Program assistant, Cristina Minniti, us with any questions. She can be reached at or at (703) 993-8008.

Informed Voters - Fair Judges Project (IVP) Produces Videos
for Use in Fair Courts Presentations

Florida State Co-Chair Justice Barbara Pariente, along with another San Diego Conference panelist Annette Boyd Pitts, produced for the NAWJ's Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project the following video clips for use in members' fair courts presentations:

A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 1
A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 2
A Fair and Impartial Judiciary: Segment 3

Click on each segment for view. For more information contact:

Annette Boyd Pitts, Executive Director •
The Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc
2930 Kerry Forest Parkway, Suite 202
Tallahassee, Florida 32309 •

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

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.

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