Innovative Judging

The title of this year's American Judges Association conference, which took place this week in New Orleans, was "Innovative Judging."  The event had a decided Center for Court Innovation flavor.  Rebecca Tomforde Hauser led two sessions, one on how judges should handle pro se protective orders and the other on how rural judges are grappling with domestic violence.  Aubrey Fox led a session with judge Steve Alm from Hawaii on the HOPE Probation model.  And I facilitated a panel on community courts that featured Courtney Bryan of the Midtown Community Court, Russell Canan of DC Superior Court, Victoria Pratt of Newark Community Solutions, and Thomas Gove of the Vancouver Community Court.

One of the themes that ran through the entire conference was the value of procedural justice.   For those of us who care about this idea, this is good news: as persuasive as external advocates can be, if procedural justice is going to take deep root in the judiciary, it is crucial to have judges convince other judges to re-think their approach on the bench.  Full credit goes to Kevin Burke and Brian MacKenzie for their commitment to procedural justice and for organizing the conference.

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