Judge


An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

Our offices will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday on Friday, July 3. But before I head for the hills, I’ll share one more post for this week, this one written by my prolific colleague Alberto Rodriguez.

His piece is in regard to a noteworthy event held earlier this spring. Arizona Forward was a gathering of people and organizations committed to access to justice. Held at the Arizona Supreme Court on April 3, 2015, speakers included American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard.

Now, the event organizers have released their report, which Alberto summarizes for us here (more event photos are at the end of this post; click to enlarge and to view them in a slideshow):

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Legal professionals and community leaders are one step closer to solving the shortage of accessible legal services in Arizona. Arizona Forward, a day-long conference held in April that focused on finding new and better ways to deliver legal services, has released its findings, which included the following.

To move Arizona forward in the future delivery of legal services to its citizens, the significant changes in demographics, economies and technology must be considered by leaders from all sectors of the community-at-large.

  • (We) need to consider further augmentation of the legal services profession, beyond licensed document preparers, to include greater use of non-lawyers and paraprofessionals.
  • (We) need to communicate more effectively to those who need legal services about access to the legal system and recognize when legal advice is needed.
  • (We) must harness technology in every imaginable way to reach and assist those in need of legal services.

The underlying theme in the report was the need for increased communication. Advancements in technology will help to tackle this communication barrier. As technology continues to advance, it will play a key role in ensuring that it provides the gateway in linking those who need legal services to those who can provide it. Mobile and virtual technology are two elements being considered.

As Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales has said, “Having meaningful access to legal services is vital to fulfilling the promise of justice for all. The goal of Arizona Forward is to find new, innovative solutions that advance justice for all Arizonans.” That first step was taken, and the first goal met by the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court, the American Bar Association and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, who co-sponsored the event, along with community leaders from across the state, was to identify the issues and offer attainable solutions.

For more information on Arizona Forward and to read the report, click here or contact Carrie Sherman at 602-340-7201. To learn more about the nationwide initiative led by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, click here.

Hon. Don Kessler receives the 2015 Sarah Herring Sorin Award from Barbara Burke, center, and 2015 AWLA President Lisa Bossard Funk, June 26, 2015, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix.

Hon. Don Kessler receives the 2015 Sarah Herring Sorin Award from Barbara Burke, center, and 2015 AWLA President Lisa Bossard Funk, June 26, 2015, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix.

An hour after the Supreme Court released its historic opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the AWLA made historic news of their own, honoring a man for the first time with its Sarah Herring Sorin Award.

On Friday, June 26, the highest award of the Arizona Women Lawyers Association went to Judge Donn Kessler of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The Biltmore Resort room was packed with a capacity crowd of members and others. Attorney Barbara Burke introduced the honoree, known for his support (and employment) of largely female clerks. He also has chaired or co-chaired the AWLA’s monthly luncheon for years, and has been tireless in mentoring judicial candidates.

Well respected as a mentor, Judge Kessler is “one who lifts up women and men attorneys,” said Burke.

Barbara conveyed kind words about Donn expressed by others: “When Donn is in your life, you are so lucky.” And “He is awesome, a leader and mentor.”

Judge Kessler sounded a theme of mindfulness in his acceptance remarks. A longtime advocate of meditation and balance in life and law practice, he said, “Mindfulness has made me grateful for things.”

For example, to loud applause, he said, “I am grateful for the United States Supreme Court this morning.”

But more needs to be done for marginalized individuals, he urged.

“A half century after 50 percent of law school classes were composed of women, now only 17 percent of law firm equity partners are women.”

Generous to a fault, Judge Kessler praised his many clerks, past and present, who have drafted the first versions of his opinions. While other appellate judges shifted uncomfortably in their seats, Kessler said that many drafts he’s received have been essentially ready for publication the moment they were written by the clerks.

“So I always try to add ‘the Kessler paragraph or sentence,’” he said. That way, when he later engages in dialogue with his fellow panel judges, they can focus on that portion. “‘We can take that out,’ they say,” likely unaware that it’s the judge-drafted portion. The self-effacing Kessler told his story to warm laughs—and some uneasy grimaces.

Judge Kessler said he will probably retire in two years, and hopes young lawyers and clerks always understand that he is a supporter and a sounding board. Urging a successful life and practice, he said, “I want you to run with it.”

Finally, he reminded the audience that appellate judge is the second-best job he’s ever had. For the best position, he recalled his work as a deputy attorney general in Hawaii, where he learned important lessons.

The Hawaiian-shirted Kessler described making his oral argument before a judge. As he went “toe to toe” on an important issue, “the judge was just not buying my argument.” Finally, a colleague tugged on his jacket and muttered, “Move on to your next argument!”

He did, and the judge exclaimed, “You win on that one!”

Your next argument, or your next chapter—and helping others with theirs—may be a recipe for a mindful life, Judge Kessler suggested.

Hon. Patricia Norris and President-Elect Lisa Loo share a decisive moment, June 26, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

Hon. Patricia Norris and President-Elect Lisa Loo share a decisive moment, June 26, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

More news from the Convention will be in this space Monday. But as #azbarcon 2015 draws toward a close, I share a great photo snapped by the Bar’s Rick DeBruhl. Above you’ll see a historic moment: When Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Norris (L) acquiesced to the urging of President-Elect Lisa Loo to … serve as a Convention Co-Chair for next year’s Convention!

Thank you in advance, Judge Norris, for giving of your time and talents in the coming year!

John Dean was Time Magazine's cover subject more than once. (And the answer: No, Nixon could not survive Dean's testimony.)

John Dean was Time Magazine’s cover subject more than once. (And the answer: No, Nixon could not survive Dean’s testimony.)

Just like politically motivated burglars in 1972, a sad American anniversary furtively passed me by yesterday—for it was on June 17 in that year that “five men, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 a.m. trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex.” (A full timeline of related events and stories, via the Washington Post, is here.)

The break-in at the Watergate and the subsequent executive branch cover-up caused turmoil from coast to coast and eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. (But also a pardon by President Gerald Ford for his secretive predecessor, an event that entirely ruined my 12-year-old birthday on September 8, 1974. I related my own experience of that pardon here.)

If you’d like to hear from someone who was intimately involved with that remarkable moment in American history, head over to San Diego in July, where the State Bar’s CLE By the Sea will feature speaker John Dean, who served as White House Counsel for President Richard Nixon for a thousand days from 1970 until 1973. (He has had other life achievements, but this is the resume line we regularly recall.)

I have never been to CLE By the Sea (I’m as surprised as you are), but this is a speaker who makes me want to break my perfect streak.

You can read more about Dean and his program here.

The pen Gerald Ford used to sign his pardon of Richard Nixon, Sept. 8, 1962. (Wikimedia Commons)

The pen Gerald Ford used to sign his pardon of Richard Nixon, Sept. 8, 1962. (Wikimedia Commons)

When many Americans, including me, think back on the infamy that emerged from the Oval Office, we also recall a few people who stepped up and spoke truth or otherwise acquitted themselves well.

Many people distinguished themselves by doing their jobs well or even going above and beyond the call of duty. Among them were Judge John Sirica, Sen. Sam Ervin, special prosecutor Archibald Cox, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus. (And let’s not forget the Washington Post’s own publisher Katharine Graham and reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.)

Political memories linger, and a campaign button in 1976 reminded voters of Ford's first big presidential decision.

Political memories linger, and a campaign button in 1976 reminded voters of Ford’s first big presidential decision.

Other people initially found themselves in a place that appeared ethically challenged or perhaps even illegal. And within that tawdry chapter of U.S. history, a subset of those decided to speak up and try to make things right.

John Dean was one of those people. As I’ve related before, my household and tens of thousands of others were riveted to Senate hearings at which John Dean played a historic role. We gazed in wonder at the laundry list of allegations emanating from the highest reaches of our government. It was hard not to marvel at the resolve Dean exhibited as he offered the Senate an accounting of the administration’s excesses. Others testified, but none riveted the attention as did John Dean.

John Dean when he was a young government lawyer.

John Dean when he was a young government lawyer.

In San Diego in July, Dean and his co-presenter James David Robenalt will offer insights for attorneys who may confront trouble in their own entities. As a description opens:

“As lawyer for the organization, what are the duties and obligations if a report up to the highest authority within an organization has failed and crime or fraud continue? Rule 1.13 of the Code of Professional Conduct (the ‘Model Rules’) provides that the lawyer may ‘report out’ what the lawyer knows, regardless of the duty of confidentiality imposed by Rule 1.6. And the lawyer’s duties become even more complicated if the lawyer has participated, knowingly or not, in the wrongdoing that gives rise to the reporting obligation. How then does the lawyer extricate himself or herself? When is resignation enough? When does a lawyer need to engage in a ‘noisy’ withdrawal?”

Here’s hoping you get the chance to gain some ethics education just steps from the beaches of Coronado. The complete program and a link to register are here.

A smiling Justice Antonin Scalia in 2010, by photographer Stephen Masker, Wikimedia Commons

A smiling Justice Antonin Scalia in 2010, by photographer Stephen Masker, Wikimedia Commons

Justice Antonin Scalia came to Phoenix in May, where he spoke to a warm Federalist Society audience.

I was unable to attend, but I am happy to recommend a blog post by Ashley Kasarjian, who did dine and listen to the Justice’s musings.

Ashley is an employment and labor attorney at Snell & Wilmer, as well as the chair of the Arizona Attorney Editorial Board.

Here is a link to her post, which covers the event, which sounds like it was highly entertaining.

I have opted to head my post with an open-source image of Scalia, rather than hijack and copy Ashley’s own great photo of him (though I’m soooo tempted!). To see that, you need to click through and scroll to the bottom of her post (it’s worth it!).

Ashley explained to me that as she approached to get her book signed, she realized her phone-camera settings were not right. So the good Justice had to be delayed for a flicker of a moment (my estimation, not hers), leading to the curmudgeonly gaze (my review, not hers).

But the reaction Ashley engendered may not be unique. I just came across another shot of Justice Scalia, this one on the Arizona GOP website. If anyone had their photo filters set to “charmed” for this particular photo subject, it would be them. And yet … grimace.

You also can see the same photo in this tweet from the @AZGOP:

(Maybe “grimace” is unfair. But he would not be the first public figure to “check out” after, say, the 2,000th photo of the day.)

In any case, it’s always an honor to have a Justice in Arizona to dine, speak, sign, and dash. Enjoy Ashley’s summary.

 

A gift from a previous delegation from Moldova was this beautiful booklet of pictures from the country. Scroll to the bottom to see how you can become the proud owner of it (and to see it open and extended).

A gift from a previous delegation from Moldova was this beautiful booklet of pictures from the country. Scroll to the bottom to see how you can become the proud owner of it (and to see it open and extended).

This spring brought a variety of international delegations to Arizona. These groups of lawyers and judges offer the opportunity to exchange ideas and to learn how justice is rendered around the world.

On April 27, a delegation from Moldova came to the State Bar of Arizona. There, they heard about U.S. and Arizona processes regarding litigation, professional ethics, and lawyer discipline. Here is a photo of Bar Counsel Amy Rehm speaking with the Moldovan delegation.

State Bar of Arizona Bar Counsel Amy Rehm addresses a delegation of Moldovan judges and lawyers, April 27, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

State Bar of Arizona Bar Counsel Amy Rehm addresses a delegation of Moldovan judges and lawyers, April 27, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

On April 21, the Peoria Municipal Court and Tulane Law School hosted 35 judges from China in a cultural education forum. According to organizers, “The Court hosted a four-person panelist discussion addressing Access to Justice, both on a larger scale and also with a focus on limited jurisdiction courts. The panelists were led by the Hon. Presiding Judge George T. Anagnost and also included Dr. (attorney) Catherine Jiang, Mr. Patrick Scott (AOC / AZ Supreme Court), and Attorney / Judge Pro Tem Debbie Weecks.”

Finally, the Arizona Supreme Court in March met with eight members of Nepal’s judiciary. It was part of an initiative launched by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the government of Nepal. At the Arizona event, Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha worked with the UNDP’s Rule of Law and Human Rights Program to plan a series of discussions with Arizona’s court professionals.

Arizona Office of the Courts Director David Byers (rear) with the delegates from Nepal, March 2015. Nepal Supreme Court Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha is in the light-gray three-button suit in front of Mr. Byers.

Arizona Office of the Courts Director David Byers (rear) with the delegates from Nepal, March 2015. Nepal Supreme Court Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha is in the light-gray three-button suit in front of Mr. Byers.

Here is more news from the Supreme Court on the Nepal visit. Congratulations to all Arizona participants on your local ambassadorship.

“Nepal has a three-tiered court system similar to American courts in which there are trial courts, appellate courts and a Supreme Court.  Subject matter experts and Arizona’s five justices met with the delegates to answer their questions and provide information about Arizona’s progress in key areas. The delegates were particularly interested in how the courts address the needs of the poor and disadvantaged as well as victims of crime.”

“‘Senior Supreme Court Justice Shrestha and the UN representative selected Arizona because Nepal faces some of the same issues we are working to address successfully,’ said Chief Justice Scott Bales. ‘We noted the importance of seeking input and support from the community broadly, including leaders from outside the judicial branch. Some of our best innovations have come by including non-judicial members from the public, private, and non-profit sectors in various court initiatives.’”

“Justice Shrestha and seven colleagues from the Nepal judiciary spent a day and a half last week meeting with state court subject matter specialists before also visiting the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse and the Superior Court in Maricopa County. Later in the week, the delegates met with Nepalese students from Arizona State University and representatives from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. They departed on March 5 for stops in Washington, DC and New York City before returning to Kathmandu, Nepal.”

“The representatives from Nepal included:

  • Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha, Supreme Court
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Til Prasad Shrestha, Appellate Court, Hetauda
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Hemraj Pant, Appellate Court, Patan
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Radha Krishna Upreti, District Court, Rautahat
  • Mr. Lal Bahadur Kunwar, Joint Registrar, Supreme Court
  • Mr. Bhadrakali Pokharel, Bench Officer, Supreme  Court
  • Mr. Ratna Kaji Shrestha, Justice Sector Coordinator for the on Rule of Law and Human Rights Program, United Nations Development Program
  • Mr. D. Christopher Decker, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law and Human Rights Program, United Nations Development Program”

Back to that Moldova booklet. Here it is extended:

Moldova postcards extended

The postcard booklet extended: That’s a lot of feet of a beautiful country.

To claim it as your own, just write to me with a few paragraphs about your (a) visit to Moldova or (b) your desire to travel there. Fair warning: Your submission may be used as a guest blog post! I’m at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

A campaign to invite the Justices of the Supreme Court to same-sex weddings has an underlying mission.

A campaign to invite the Justices of the Supreme Court to same-sex weddings has an underlying mission.

How high profile is the pending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage? Pretty major. Maybe even big enough to increase the mail reaching the Court.

I’m sure the Justices regularly receive quite a bit of mail—which they cannot answer, for obvious reasons. But now that mail may include wedding save-the-dates.

A movement spearheaded by actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (of Modern Family TV fame) aims to inundate the Justices with save-the-date wedding announcements—for same-sex couples.

Given his partnership with the website Funny or Die, there are bound to be a few funny elements to the initiative. Here’s how one news story on it opens:

“With the Supreme Court nearing a decision on marriage equality, Funny or Die has collaborated with Jesse Tyler Ferguson to encourage same-sex couples to send Supreme Court justices wedding save-the-date announcements—a reminder of the human lives its ruling will impact.”

Read the complete story here.

Supreme Save the Date with Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Adding to the humor, Ferguson has taped a video in which he plays various Justices, each of whom is baffled by the onslaught of invitations they are receiving. Here it is:

Whatever your beliefs on how the Court should rule, I’m hoping you enjoy the video. Perhaps it’s similar to a past video that portrayed the Justices as puppies. I wrote about it here, but I’ve included the video again below:

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