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October 07, 2022 National Conference of State Trial Judges

NCSTJ Chair's Column

By Hon. Vivian Medinilla, Wilmington, DE

I am honored to serve as the Chair of the NCSTJ for this 2022-2023 ABA year. NCSTJ’s commitment continues to focus on the current needs of our members and provide useful programs and seminars important to the Judicial Division and the ABA.

At the Annual Meeting, being able to gather in person was a plus. As is so often echoed by our members, much of what we gain from our NCSTJ involvement are the good times we share - and the memories we make - from our opportunities to meet. Learning from so many esteemed judicial officers is the best part of the NCSTJ experience. To that end, I wish to thank Judge David M. Connors from Utah who passed the gavel after a tremendously successful year of service. I hope to maintain his steady and reassuring leadership style. Thank you also to Judge Marcella A. Holland from Maryland who has already demonstrated extraordinary support as our NCSTJ Chair-Elect. From her, I hope to gain some of her energy, which is second to none. Muchas gracias also to Judge Denise Langford-Morris of Michigan (who works as if she’s not retired,) and Judge Margaret Masunaga of Hawaii (who participates as if she’s not 4,000 miles from our ABA venues); both graciously serving as our Vice-Chair and Secretary, respectively. To emulate any of these great leaders is certainly one of my goals.

Members of the National Conference of State Trial Judges met at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL

Members of the National Conference of State Trial Judges met at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL

Speaking of greatness, Judge Ernestine S. Gray of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court in Louisiana is now our chair of the Judicial Division. Huzzah! Not only are we thrilled but we are fully committed to supporting her theme. Captioned For Our Children: A Justice System that Protects, Corrects and Prepares, her goal is to bring attention to the impact of courts on the lives of children and families, while maintaining the division’s focus on the rule of law, diversity in the profession and security of judges. This theme speaks to me because prior to the ascending to the bench I was the cabinet secretary for Delaware’s child welfare, child mental health and our juvenile justice systems. I applaud the efforts to highlight the judiciary’s role and its impact on this underserved population.

I am also pleased that NCSTJ’s work this summer aligned with JD Chair Judge Gray’s goals regarding the rule of law, diversity in the profession, and security of judges. At our Annual Meeting—led by our own Judge Holland—we celebrated another successful Youth Outreach Program organized by the Judicial Division’s Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary. This effort brought hundreds of students from One Summer Chicago together with volunteer judges to engage in lively roundtable discussions regarding the rule of law. Later, at our NCSTJ Town Hall meeting, we shifted gears and focused on our safety. There, Judge Holland hosted a critical dialogue between our members and an expert from a state court system regarding judicial security measures we can take to avoid security breaches, threats or assaults at work and home.

As state trial judges, we cover many great topics. Of course, there is always more to do. So, on behalf of the 2022-2023 Executive Committee, we encourage and welcome your involvement and look forward to a successful year. Please also contact our committee chairs if you are interested in any specific topic. Thank you!

  • Bylaws
    Hon. Calvin Scott
  • Communications (JD Record/Judges’ Journal)
    Hon. Christina Klineman/Hon. Peter Killough
  • Diversity
    Hon. Marian Perkins
  • Membership
    Hon. Margarite Downing
  • Program
    Hon. Stephanie Domitrovich
  • Strategic Planning
    Hon. Marcella Holland/Hon. Denise Langford Morris
Hon. Vivian Medinilla, Wilmington, DE

Hon. Vivian Medinilla, Wilmington, DE

2022-2023 Chair, National Conference of State Trial Judges

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