January 03, 2020 National Conference of Specialized Court Judges

NCSCJ Chair's Column

By Hon. Shelbonnie Coleman-Hall, Mobile, AL

The National Conference of Specialized Court Judges (NCSCJ) Executive Committee has been trying to readjust since abruptly losing the long time ABA staff person assigned to our Conference. Her position with the Judicial Division of the ABA was eliminated. Cheronne Mayes came to our Conference on April 13, 2015. She had many assignments and responsibilities and was so great in making everything run smoothly and efficiently. Having an experienced staff person such as Cheronne helped me immensely in my transition in moving up one year ahead of time to Chair this Conference. Cheronne was very knowledgeable and helpful in assisting me to navigate my new position. On behalf of the entire NCSCJ Executive Committee and each one of our nearly 300 plus Specialized Court Judges throughout the country, we thank Cheronne for her outstanding and exemplary work. We wish Cheronne the very best and all of life’s greatest blessings for her and her family.

As we try to “restart” our 2019-2020 Conference year, we continue to do the work of moving this Conference forward. Our Executive Committee has conducted three meetings thus far. One meeting was held in San Francisco at the end of the 2019 Annual Meeting with our other meetings held by conference calls in October and December of this year. Our next Executive Committee meeting is an in-person meeting at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas. The dates for the Midyear are Wednesday, February 12 -17, 2020. The headquarter hotel for the Judicial Division will be the JW Marriott. Our Conference will have two meetings at Midyear, with the first meeting scheduled on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. We meet again on Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Both meetings will take place at the JW Marriott. All members are welcome to attend. We would love to see all members of our Conference join us in Austin, Texas. Also, we are planning to have a dinner at Midyear where we invite all members, future members and their families to attend. For more details, please contact our Conference staff person, Julie Peacock.

Our Conference is very fortunate to be co-sponsoring a program with the Tribal Court Council at Midyear. The name of the program is “The Disenfranchised Among Us.” The program is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. This program is so relevant in the year in which we celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. The program will address limitations imposed by the government that keep qualified legal voters from exercising the important right each U.S. citizen has to vote either currently or in the past. The program will further explore the barriers which prevent citizens otherwise entitled to vote in U.S. elections. The program will also discuss efforts to restore voting rights to those released following completed service of sentences issued for criminal offenses and focus on those whose only address is a post office box such as those residing on Reservations. A huge thanks to our Conference’s very own Col. Linda Strite Murnane, (Ret.), who submitted this very timely program proposal. She has been a member of the Tribal Courts Council since its inception. Her great work and love for this Council, our Conference, the JD and the ABA is an inspiration. Also, a huge thanks to Judge Kirk Saunooke, JD Chair of the Tribal Courts Council and Chair of the Tribal Court Committee for NCSCJ. Also involved with this program is our Conference member, Judge Lisa Atkinson who has agreed to serve as moderator for the program.

In addition to our Midyear Meeting activities, we are once again coordinating our highly anticipated annual Traffic Court Seminar. The 2020 Traffic Court Seminar will be held March 9-11, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s line-up of nationally renowned speakers will ensure us another great success. A big thanks to Judge Beth Gibson for leading this Committee along with our former ABA staff person, Cheronne Mayes for all her help with coordinating this Seminar. Registration will open soon, and limited scholarships will be available upon application. Our Conference is still on track for our CLE “Jazz with the Judges” event in Atlanta, Georgia led by Judge Ronald Ramsey, NCSCJ Chair-Elect. Please stay tuned, dates for this event will be announced soon.

We have many exciting events planned and we hope to see each of you at all of them.  We are here to serve you and to lead our Conference to greater heights. If we can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Hon.  Shelbonnie Coleman-Hall

Hon. Shelbonnie Coleman-Hall

2019-2020 NCSCJ Chair