REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
National Association of Women Judges
The Honorable Lisa Walsh
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
• 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
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
• 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.
Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade, Florida
Alaska Holds its 10th Annual Success Inside and Out
Program at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center
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
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
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
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
District 6 Director
Hon. Bernadette G. D'Souza
Orleans Civil District Court
District 7 Director
36th District Court
District 8 Director
Hon. Jane Spencer Craney
Morgan Superior Court 3
District 9 Director
Hon. Ellen Levy Siwak
21st Judicial Circuit, Division 11
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
District 14 Director
Hon. Anita Santos
Contra Costa County Superior Court
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)
Hon. Toni E. Clarke
Circuit Court for Prince George's
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
(firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
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.)
Annual Conference Planning (Chairs decided by Justice Susan Owen)
Audit and Compliance
Committee Chairs Coordinator
Conference Site Selection
Conference Scholarships (subcommittee)
Fairness and Access
History Book (Chaired by Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby)
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
Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare
Media and Public Relations
Membership Outreach and Retention
Mexican Judges (subcommittee)
Military Courts (subcommittee)
Nominating (Chaired by NAWJ Past President Judge Julie Frantz)
Personnel Committee (Chaired by Judge Joy Lobrano)
Projects (Chaired by Judge Marcella Holland, Retired)
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
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
MasonJEP@gmu.edu or at (703) 993-8008.
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 www.geico.com/disc/nawj
(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.