There’s a lot of news regarding Jury Duty in DC.To read all about it, click here >
The latest news on Jury Duty in DC:
The DC Superior Court released a new juror orientation video this March which talks about the key role that jurors play in our justice system and how important it is that all those who are summoned serve jury duty. The video makes clear that while residents may initially feel like they don’t have time or that jury duty is a burden, ultimately it is an important aspect of our democracy. Participation in jury service is a way in which we all can participate in keeping our community safe, and holding one another accountable for our actions as fellow citizens. To bring the importance of our participation even closer to home, imagine if we, or one of our loved ones, was charged with a crime. Who would we want making the decision about guilt or innocence? No doubt, we would want a jury of dedicated, engaged, and conscientious members of our community who would carefully consider all of the evidence presented and render a just verdict. That is what jury duty is all about; and what makes our democracy a magnificent process worthy of protecting and participating in. To see the 20 minute video, click here.
The National Law Journal recently published an article entitled “ DC Makes Jurors Feel Appreciated” which found that DC Superior Court’s 80% juror utilization rate – the percentage of jurors that are sent to at least one courtroom to be considered for a jury – far exceeds the national average of 58% in comparable large cities. This means that DC Superior Court is taking more care to summon closer to the number of jurors needed, reducing the number of jurors who need to be summoned. In turn that means that residents will ultimately not have to be summoned so frequently. The article talked about all the steps that the DC Superior Court has taken in an effort to increase juror utilization, and to ensure that the court makes all reasonable efforts in summoning only the number of people it needs for trials. To read the entire article, click here.
Adoption Day 2013The DC Superior Court and the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) co-hosted the 27th Annual Adoption Day ceremony.To view the full article, click here >
In an event designed to celebrate the joy of adoption, the DC Superior Court and the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) co-hosted the 27th Annual Adoption Day ceremony on Saturday, November 23rd. 29 adoptions were finalized during a ceremony in which the new families were introduced and came forward as their judges signed the adoption decrees. The theme of this year's ceremony was "Promoting Healthy Children, Strong Families."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, and CFSA Director, Brenda Donald, gave special remarks signifying the importance of adoption in the District as well as congratulating the new families created. The theme of this year’s ceremony was "Promoting Healthy Children, Strong Families."
NBC 4 news channel anchor Barbara Harrison acted as the Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing all the children along with their families while the adoption decrees were being signed by a judge. For more coverage of our Adoption Day, visit our DCCourtsChannel to view clips of the event.
DC Superior Court’s Family Court to Host its 27th Annual Adoption Day EventSaturday, November 23, from 10-noon – Everyone’s Invited!To view the full article, click here >
DC Superior Court cordially invites all members of the community to attend the 27th Annual DC Adoption Day Ceremony on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 10am to noon on the third floor atrium of Moultrie Courthouse (500 Indiana Avenue, NW). Healthy Children, Strong Families is the theme of this year’s program- promoting the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in the lives of children and their families. This celebration is the cornerstone of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency’s (CFSA’s) efforts to encourage members of the community to adopt children who are currently in foster care and to provide them with permanent and loving homes. Over twenty children will have their adoptions finalized during the ceremony, and the event will feature a variety of performances by local youth as well as information and resources available for families interested in fostering or adopting. A reception will immediately follow the program. If you think you might be interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent please attend or contact the CFSA at 202-671-LOVE (5683). To report child abuse or neglect please call 202-671-SAFE (7233).
Vietnamese Delegates Visit DC Superior Court Drug CourtTo view the full article, click here >
On August 23, 2013, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, along with representatives from Vietnamese legal and health governmental ministries, visited the DC Superior Court Drug Court as part of a nine-day trip to the United States to meet with officials about drug treatment policy. After observing the morning Drug Court calendar, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen and the other delegates were able to ask questions of DC Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson and DC Pretrial Services Agency Director Clifford Keenan. As reported by the Vietnam Government, this visit “…with US leaders…will help strengthen mutual understanding, confidence and cooperation in all fields between Vietnam and the US.” The team of delegates also met with the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The Superior Court’s Drug Intervention Program (SCDIP), which is managed by the Pretrial Services Agency, is an intensive sanctions-and incentives-based substance abuse treatment program for certain defendants charged with misdemeanor and non-violent felonies. For the past 20 years, SCDIP has "offered participants a comprehensive approach to address their addiction or dependency" and has effectively reduced recidivism among participants. SCDIP is one of several problem solving court programs in DC Superior Court.
White House Drug Control Office Deputy Director Helps Celebrate 20th Anniversary of the DC Superior Court Drug Intervention ProgramTo view the full article, click here >
This year the DC Superior Court Drug Intervention Program (SCDIP) is celebrating its 20th anniversary of working with the Pretrial Services Agency to provide an intensive sanctions and incentives based substance abuse treatment program for certain defendants charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. This month’s ceremony celebrated all those progressing from Phase I to Phase II, from Phase II to Phase III, from Phase III to Phase IV...and most significantly, the eight individuals who successfully completed the program and had their cases dismissed by United States Attorney Ronald Machen.
The morning began with a formal discussion among drug court advocates, graduates, judges and Pretrial Services Agency staff, moderated by Michael Botticelli, Deputy Director of the Office National Drug Control Policy. Judge Gregory Jackson, the current SCDIP judge, gave a brief overview of the program and introduced Judge Frederick Weisberg, who was the SCDIP judge from 2011 until2012, as well as having been the first judge to preside over the program in 1993 and 1994. The attendees were extremely moved by hearing from Anthony Hill, a 2007 SCDIP graduate, and Karen Christian, a 2005 Family Treatment Court graduate. Both Mr. Hill and Ms. Christian explained how these programs gave them a new outlet on life while helping overcome addiction and criminal problems. The discussion centered on the importance of drug court programs and their impact on recidivism. Cliff Keenan, Director of the Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), spoke about the advantage the SCDIP program has in handling drug testing and sanctions expeditiously as a result of PSA having its own, in-house lab. The group also discussed the challenge for government agencies to keep pace with the rapidly changing domestic and international drug supply, including synthetic drugs. The meeting attendees then left to take their seats for the graduation, which was held, as it is every month, in courtroom C-10.
As the graduation ceremony convened, the audience was graced with a musical performance by recording artist and songwriter, Ana Gibson, poetry by SCDIP case manager Tarinna Terrell, and a vibrant and inspiring message from Reverend Tony Lee of Community Hope AME Church. Reverend Lee related the success of the graduates to a popular Hip-Hop song entitled “Started From the Bottom” by artist Drake. “You started from the bottom, now you are here, but your here will get you over there to more success and stability,” Lee told the graduates. He encouraged SCDIP participants and graduates “…stand in extreme conditions, be yourself, and make decisions to be your own individual when the world wants you to be like everyone else.”
The program commenced with personal testimonies from a few graduates. One stated that SCDIP “created some structure in [her] life, changing people and places, and giving [her] stability.” They were particularly adamant about how Judge Jackson and their case managers were dedicated to believe in them when they failed to believe in themselves. In his closing remarks, Mr. Botticelli gave testimony about his 25-year journey from standing in front of a judge because of substance abuse issues and now working for the President of the United States; ending by stating: “It’s not about me, it’s about the journey, all of our journeys.” Later Mr. Botticelli underscored the importance of drug courts in the nation’s drug policy reform plan: “Drug courts are a key component of our new drug policy reform plan, which takes a public health approach to drug policy by emphasizing prevention, treatment, and smart criminal justice reform programs like drug courts.” West Huddleston, head of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, followed the testimonies by proclaiming he “…has the luckiest job – telling the world about courtrooms like this!”
Among the friends and families of the graduates and participants were Acting Chief Judge Robert Morin; DC Courts' Executive Officer Anne Wicks and Deputy Executive Director Cheryl Bailey, Clerk of the Superior Court Duane Delaney; Nancy Ware, Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA); and others from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, CSOSA and PSA.
 The DC Family Treatment Court program is part of the Superior Court's Family Court Division. It is a program for mothers with substance abuse issues charged with neglect that includes a residential phase for the first several months of treatment in which the mothers can live with their young children.
2 For more information on the nation’s new drug policy reform plan, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/DrugPolicyReform.
DC Courts 1st Law Day Talk – on the Emancipation Proclamation – was a big Success.To view the full article, click here >
On Wednesday, May 1st, the DC Courts celebrated Law Day and the American Bar Association’s theme of “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All”. This year’s ceremony at the DC Courts commemorated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.
Prior to the Law Day ceremony, the Courts’ hosted a one-hour Q&A session on twitter with Eric Washington, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and Lee Satterfield, Chief Judge of the Superior Court.
The Law Day ceremony began with a brief welcome by Chief Judge Washington and beside the statue of President Lincoln, alongside the Historic Courthouse. “This is a day in which we pause to reflect on the significance of the rule of law for our country and our society. The nation’s capital has played a pivotal role in our country’s journey towards making sure that everyone has equal access to justice,” said Chief Judge Washington.
After the opening remarks, and a rendition of “Oh Freedom” by Debra Swingon-Stokes, the event featured a dynamic lecture by Hari Jones, Curator of the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum. Mr. Jones’ lecture focused on African American contributions to Emancipation. A true patriot is “one who is willing to ensure that liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness are available to all in the body politic,” said Mr. Jones. He then delivered an impassioned lecture on the many patriots who contributed to the cause of emancipation.
In closing, Chief Judge Satterfield thanked Mr. Jones and the crowd of over a hundred people gathered on the courthouse steps. “We must think of just how far we—as a city, as a society, as a country—have come in the years since this building and this statue were built. But we must also remember that we are not there yet, there is work still to be done,” Chief Judge Satterfield reminded the crowd.