DC Community Courts Save Lives, As MHCC Graduate Conner Adams Told the PresidentMore information
The Mental Health Community Court (MHCC) is a special program designed to handle cases involving individuals with unique mental illnesses. The MHCC is operated in collaboration with the DC Superior Court, the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA), and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Managed by PSA, the MHCC offers an eligible defendant an alternative to prosecution through a series of treatment services, testing, and supervision.
Conner Adams, a DC resident and former substance abuser, can attest to the effectiveness of the MHCC program.
Recently, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 prisoners convicted of non-violent drug offenses. His stated rationale for the pardons was simple: had the prisoners been convicted today for similar offenses, they would have served their time and rejoined society. In his remarks following the pardons, the President emphasized that America is a nation of “second chances.”
This prompted MHCC graduate Conner Adams to write a letter to President Obama documenting her own story of second chances through the MHCC. In her letter, Ms. Adams recounts the “second, third, and tenth” chances she was granted by friends, family, and the MHCC. In conclusion, she says that the MHCC Judge saved her life.
To read Ms. Adams’s letter and President Obama’s response, click the link below:
Beginning the Summer in the CommunityMore information
Attending neighborhood events in the District is a prime opportunity for the DC Courts to ensure residents are aware of the various Court resources and programs. The summer season began with two events in June, the HSC Health Fair for Children with Special Needs in Michigan Park and the Safe Summer Kickoff hosted by the Metropolitan Police Department in Ward 8.
Approximately 100 DC residents and members of the community, including health care providers, neighborhood advisors, and non-profits, interacted with Court staff.
The DC Courts' vendor is full of information regarding the free self-help resource centers, questions about serving as a juror including the new debit card provision, and general information about each division of the Court.
The DC Courts' involvement in neighborhood festivals and city events aligns with two of the Courts' 2013-2017 Strategic Plan Goals of "…being accountable to the public and actively working to enhance public understanding of the judicial branch."
The Story of an Unsung Greeter at DC Superior CourtRead article
By Edward Harding III, Communications Intern
Last Wednesday, June 24, 2015, DC Superior Court greeter Donald Tillery was featured in the TV ONE series Unsung, which documents lesser-known musical artists who contributed to Billboard hits and classic tunes.
An original member of Chuck Browns band ‘The Soulsearchers,'Tillery, now 68, began playing trumpet in grade school and formed his own band, "The Epsilons," before meeting Brown in 10th grade at Dunbar High School. In his interview, Tillery recalled the night that Brown attended one of his shows at a hotel on 13th Street, NW in DC. After attending some of the Soulsearchers’ rehearsals, Brown asked him to join the band, specializing in trumpet and vocals.
When he first received the call from the network, Tillery thought he was speaking to a bill collector. He was surprised when they said "we know a lot about you" and asked him to interview for "Unsung". That was two years ago. Today, Tillery recalls the interview with nonchalance. The questions covered a wide range of topics, from his time in "The Soulsearchers", to some of the behind-the-scene issues bands and musicians faced in the 70's. Tillery recalls his time playing with bandmembers Harris Brock on the keyboard, John Buchanon on trombone (writer of the 70's hit, "Bussin' Loose"), Lloyd Pinchback on the tenor sax, and Billie Stewart (composer, writer).
One of the most interesting facts that Tillery disclosed was how go-go music was actually created. Tillery recalls an instance where the band was called to perform at the Masonic Temple on 16th Street, NW. The band was setting up and everyone was there, with the exception of the lead singer Chuck Brown. While the band waited for Brown, Tillery recalls the band, "playing a syncopated beat" with some tunes to pass the time. The crowd enjoyed the music so much that when Brown finally arrived, the crowd asked for the same syncopation, dubbing it the "go-go" we know and love today. "They left that part out of the show."
Though the episode didn't include this story about the birth of go-go, of which the legendary Chuck Brown is "The Godfather", Tillery's feature on Unsung shows us that Brown didn't do it alone.
To watch the complete Unsung story on Chuck Brown that includes Donald Tillery, click here.
Community Information & Referral Program Provides Free Services to DC Residents Involved in Disputes; No Case Needs to be FiledMore information
For disputing parties looking to reach an agreement without the process of filing a case with the court, the DC Courts recommend checking out the Community Information and Referral Program (CIRP) of the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division, which can help DC residents reach a resolution efficiently and free of charge. In the last four years, CIRP has assisted over 6,500 DC residents, and has achieved a yearly satisfaction rate of 95- 97%. To read more about this program that thousands of others have taken advantage of, see the full story on DC Courts News:
The DCSC Community Information & Referral Program: Public Services Without a Case Filed
DC Superior Court has a new Clerk of Court: Mr. James D. McGinleyMore informationDC Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield and DC Courts Executive Officer Anne Wicks announced the appointment of James D. McGinley as Clerk of the Superior Court, effective June 8, 2015. As Court Clerk, Mr. McGinley will oversee all Superior Court operations, including Civil, Criminal, Domestic Violence, Family Court, Multi-Door Dispute Resolution (Mediation), Probate, Special Operations (including Interpreter Services and the Jurors’ Office) and Tax Divisions, as well as the Crime Victims Compensation Program.
Mr. McGinley has a combination of senior leadership experience as both a seasoned litigator and a career military officer. Formerly a partner in the civil litigation firm of Hiepler & Hiepler, Mr. McGinley also served as a Pro Tem Judge for the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Ventura. He possesses extensive experience in complex civil litigation, international negotiation, enterprise-wide leadership, and the management of multi-agency projects.
In 2013, Colonel McGinley retired after a 30-year career as a naval aviator in the United States Marine Corps. A veteran with three combat tours, Colonel McGinley served as the Director of the al Anbar Provincial Joint Coordination Center, and the Deputy Commander of both the Iraq Assistance Group and Expeditionary Strike Group Five. During his career, he led service members from diverse backgrounds, trained Iraqis at the highest level of government, and served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff. His combat decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
A dynamic speaker, Mr. McGinley has been featured at several conferences, including the Society of Chief Medical Examiners, the Nevada Trial Lawyers Annual Meeting, and was the chairman and keynote speaker at the Mealey’s HMO Liability conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. McGinley’s trial work fighting bad faith insurance practices has been highlighted in a Time magazine cover story and a lead story on 60 Minutes.
A published legal author, Mr. McGinley was the California Survey Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review and a Peer Reviewer of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.
Mr. McGinley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (International Relations) from California State University, Long Beach; a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California; and a Master of Laws in National Security Law and a Certificate in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
We Love Our Jurors!
Job well done to the Jurors’ Office for a successful Juror Appreciation Week!
More informationWe Love Our Jurors!
"Each year, the DC Superior Court calls over 100,000 residents, from across every Ward in the city, to serve as potential jurors," reports Herb Rouson, Director of the Special Operations Division, which includes the Jurors' Office. "In consideration of the important sacrifice that potential jurors make, and with an eye towards the Court's goal of 'Improving the efficient use of jurors…', the Jurors" Office has made great strides in ensuring that its business processes maximize the jurors' sacrifice in time (and sometimes money)." For instance, the Jurors' Office will soon begin issuing debit cards rather than cash and checks, which we believe will be much more convenient for those serving jury duty. You can see a video about the new debit cards here.
From the banners expressing appreciation, to the monitors playing the juror orientation video in the Moultrie Courthouse and Court Buildings A and B, the Jurors' Office went 'above and beyond' to recognize the 30,000 DC residents who responded and performed their civic duty this past year. Each day last week, jurors who reported for service were welcomed with morning treats, and then greeted judges as part of juror orientation. The judges shared their experiences of being called for jury duty, explained some of what goes on behind the scenes as contributing factors to juror utilization, and gave jurors the opportunity to ask questions.
Thank you to the DCSC Jurors' Office staff, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield and the other judges who participated (Judge Robert Morin – Presiding, Criminal Division; Judge Lynn Leibovitz – Deputy Presiding, Criminal Division; Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo – Presiding, Family Court; Judge José Lopez – Presiding, Domestic Violence Unit; Judge Judith Bartnoff – Presiding, Civil Division; Judge Ramsey Johnson – Deputy Presiding, Civil Division; and Judge Melvin Wright, Chair, Jury Committee).
But most of all, thank you to our jurors – we depend on you and we really do appreciate you!
Supervisory Probation Officer with DC Superior Court wins 2015 Cafritz Award for Public Service ExcellenceMore information
Mark Jackson, a Supervisory Probation Officer with the Superior Court's Family Court Social Services Division, was selected to receive one of the 2015 Cafritz awards. The awards, granted by the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, are designed to recognize five District of Columbia government workers each year for outstanding public service.
The Cafritz awards are a highly regarded recognition bestowed upon individuals whose hard work, dedication and commitment to public service have made a difference. According to the Cafritz awards website, the awards are presented to "five individuals who play a critical, yet in many cases unseen, role in providing outstanding service to the residents of Washington, DC." Furthermore, the awards recognize individuals "whose contributions have been exceptional and whose commitment and professionalism demonstrate the best in public service."
At the ceremony on May 27, Mark received his award. Below are a photo and article from the program, and here is a link to the remarks Mark made at the event Mark said that the ceremony was beautiful and a highlight of his career.
Here is a short video that the Cafritz foundation created to tell the world about all the good work Mark and his Court Social Services Division colleagues are doing.
GMU Professor Manuel-Scott Delivers Keynote Presentation at DC Courts Black History Month EventFor more information, click here
The DC Courts' Black History Month celebration this year focused on life, culture, and education. Throughout the month, programs and activities reflected such, including a lecture given by Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott, Director of African and African American Studies at George Mason University. Dr. Scott delivered a captivating presentation entitled If We Must Die: Enslaved Africans and the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Opening with Claude McKay's poem If We Must Die, written during the Harlem Renaissance, Dr. Scott correlated the poem to the millions of African, men, women, and children, who were captured off the coasts of Africa to be sold into slavery. The presentation explained rarely-discussed facts about the inhumane conditions of slave ships transporting Africans. Dr. Scott also showed pictures of instruments that were used to torture the slaves, especially those rebellious, while quoting records of accounts on the ship explaining the "Violence exercised in the service of human commodification…"
Dr. Scott has a decorated résumé in history as she is currently a Professor of History and Art History at George Mason University. Born in Chicago and raised throughout the South and Midwest, Dr. Scott graduated from the College of Charleston and received her Ph.D. in history from Howard University. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Scott facilitated the research to curate exhibitions Separate and Unequal in Buckingham County: An Exhibition on Segregation and Desegregation in Virginia and One Hundred Years of African American Life and Leadership in Falls Church, Virginia. Dr. Scott also started the Paul Robeson Saturday Leadership Academy at George Mason University, a Saturday STEM program for 7th-10th grade students that are underrepresented in the STEM fields.
Valentine's Day Weddings Held at DC Superior CourtMore information >
The DC Superior Court's Family Court opened its Marriage Bureau on a Saturday, a very rare event indeed, to help 14 lucky couples celebrate Valentine's Day in a very special way: by getting married! Seven court employees, four of whom are authorized to perform weddings, came in on a Saturday morning to ensure that these couples had weddings – and will have anniversary dates – that they will never forget! The ages, the stories, the countries of origin, the how they met and how long they had known each other varied a great deal. But the bottom line was the same for all – it was love and they wanted to say "I do" and make it legal and forever. Family and friends were there to serve witness, as were local media who were allowed in for the special event. And unlike virtually every other court proceeding, the ones on Saturday, February 14th ended in kisses and hugs…and a few tears!
DC’s Drug Court - A Podcast Provides Information About the Program from a Judge’s and a Participant’s perspective.For more information, click here
DC Superior Court celebrates National Recovery Month with a Drug Court graduation and CookoutRead the full article
The DC Superior Court celebrated National Recovery Month on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 with a Drug Court graduation and cookout at Fort Lincoln Park in northeast DC. On hand were Chief Judge Satterfield, Drug Court Judge Gregory Jackson, Judge Weisberg (former drug court judge), Pretrial Services Agency Director Cliff Keenan and a number of officials from PSA, Principal Assistant US Attorney Vince Cohen, Assistant MPD Chief Diane Groomes, Guest Speaker Tyrone Parker (Executive Director of the Alliance of Concerned Men), a number of drug court program alumni, and of course the graduates’ friends and family. After brief remarks from the VIPS, and inspirational remarks from Mr. Parker encouraging them graduates to look forward and to believe that anything was possible, the names were called – first of those progressing from one phase to another, then of those graduating that day. Most graduates had a few words for the audience, though some were so overwhelmed that all they could manage was ‘thanks so much!.’ But Jeffrey Marshall got a laugh from the audience when he said “Who would have thought I would have ever been glad to walk into a courtroom?” and then he talked about how happy he was to be at the graduation, to be where he was in terms of his sobriety. He thanked all those who had helped him and said “I cannot believe that I shaked Judge Jackson’s hands yesterday….not just once, but twice” and then he turned around, gave the microphone back and shook the judge’s hand once again!
For more information on DC’s drug court program, click here and here.
For information on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness on drug courts, click here.