Franklin H. Williams Commission | Fall 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue


Gone But Not Forgotten

National Consortium Conference


CLE Diversity

Mass Incarceration Conference


Gone But Not Forgotten


Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam and Hon. George Bundy Smith


The nation lost two legal trail blazers with the passing of Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam on April 12, 2017 and Hon. George Bundy Smith on August 5, 2107.

Hon. George Bundy Smith was the third African American Justice appointed to the New York Court of Appeals. He served as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals from 1992 – 2006. A civil rights activist, Judge Bundy Smith was a tireless advocate in the pursuit of justice for all. He wrote the decision that outlawed the death penalty in New York State. Judge Bundy Smith was a mentor for many in the legal community and encouraged greater diversity and inclusiveness on the judiciary.

Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam was the first African American female appointed to the New York Court of Appeals. Judge Abdus-Salaam served as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals from 2013 – 2017. Judge Abdus-Salaam was known for her fairness and sharp intellect. She was responsible for ground breaking decisions regarding the definition of “parenthood” in New York State. Judge Abdus-Salaam was a beacon of light for those in the legal community who knew and admired her.




Hon. Alan D. Scheinkman, Administrative Judge, Ninth Judicial District welcomes Dr. Betty Campbell as Westchester County Commissioner of Jurors


On August 16, 2017, the Westchester County Jury Board selected Dr. Betty Campbell as the new Commissioner of Jurors of Westchester County. Dr. Campbell will also continue with her duties as District Liaison for the 9th JD Problem Solving Courts. Congratulations and we wish Dr. Campbell much success in her new position.


Mass Incarceration: Mercy Matters Conference


Mass Incarceration and The Effect on the Community

The panelist included Georgia K. Lerner, Executive Director of the Women’s Prison Association; Anthony L. Ricco, Attorney, Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School; Professor Michael B. Mushlin, Pace Law School; Marc Mauer, Executive Director of the Sentencing Project, and the moderator, Honorable Donovan J. Foughty, North Dakota District Court Judge.

This session examined the cause and effect of the high number of persons entering the prison system and conditions within the prisons. The panelists discussed the role implicit bias played in the massive increase in the prison population. There was also an analysis of the reasons why women commit crimes and the effective solutions for those risk factors. The conference attendees also viewed an excerpt from the film, “The Norden-Nordic Prisons (2014). The film analyzed the Norwegian prison system and its emphasis on rehabilitation in comparison to the United States’ emphasis on punishment.


Prosecution of Cases, Racial Bias, and Efforts to Reform the Prison System

The panelists included Professor Judith Resnick, Yale Law School; Eric Gonzalez, Acting Kings County District Attorney; Darcel Clark, Bronx County District Attorney; Anthony J. Annucci, NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision; and the moderator, Professor Tanya K. Hernandez, Fordham University School of Law, Center on Race, Law & Justice.

This session examined the prosecutor’s role in mitigating racial impact in the enforcement of laws. The District Attorneys shared their office’s initiatives to reduce the number of persons entering the criminal justice system. Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci discussed his agency’s efforts toward rehabilitating prisoners. There was also a review of the “Aiming to Reduce Time-in-Cell” report issued by the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program which studied how race impacts who gets placed in solitary confinement while in prison.


The Riker’s Report: Reversing the Criminalization of Poverty

The panelists included Professor Ann Cammett, CUNY School of Law; Josh Norkin, Special Litigation Unit, Legal Aid Society, the Decarceration Project; Hon. Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge, New York State Courts, Chairman of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform; and the moderator, David Udell, Fordham University School of Law, Executive Director, National Center for Access to Justice.

This session reviewed the report “A More Just New York City” urging the closure of Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Honorable Jonathan Lippman explained why closing Riker’s Island was imperative to improving public safety and rehabilitating prisoners. There was also a discussion of bail reform as a basic step towards criminal justice reform. There was a further discussion on why incarcerating non-violent offenders who have not been convicted of a crime was unfair and unjust. The panel also considered civil penalties that lead to the increased incarceration of persons.


29th Annual Conference National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts


Voices of Ferguson
Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge, Supreme Court of Missouri, Advisory Board Member, National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices: David Dwight, Communications and Strategy Catalyst, Forward Through Ferguson; Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.


The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts held its 29th Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Conference theme was “Gateway to Justice: Out of the Fire and Into the Future.” Hon. Patricia Breckenridge, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri opened the conference by welcoming the conference attendees and acknowledging that the conflict in Ferguson was cause for the court to examine their policies on fines and fees and the establishment of a Missouri State Commission on Ethnic and Racial Fairness in the Courts.

The two day conference included a session at the Greater St. Mark Family Church where a plenary session was held on the “Voices of Ferguson.”

A second session dealt with a topic that concerns most states and was based upon feedback for the disturbance in Ferguson, the unjustness of fines, fees and bail practices and the changes needed in our courts.

And finally a very informative session on Bias, Cultural competence and Court Services was delivered by Sujata Warrier- Training and Technical Assistant, Director of the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

The Conference concluded with a Tribal Justice Film Screening presided over by Judge Donovan Foughty, North Dakota District Judge.

Special Acknowledgments is given to the Moderator of the Conference, Honorable Anna Blackburn-Rigsby Chief Judge, District of Columbia and the hosting committee of St. Louis, Missouri; Hon. Judy Draper, Associate Circuit Judge 21st Judicial District, St. Louis County, Bill Bay, Chair of the Missouri Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts; Hon. George William Draper lll, Judge of the Missouri Supreme Court; Hon. Lisa White Hardwick, Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Co-chair of the Missouri Commission on Ethnic and Racial Fairness in the Courts.


Gateway to Justice: Out of the Fire and Into the Future – The Challenge of Court Fees
Monique Abby, Esq.: Adolphus M. Pruitt, President, St. Louis City Chapter of the NAACP, Colonel Delrish Moss, Chief of Police; Michael McMillian, President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; Wesley Bell, Professor, St. Louis Community College; Reverend Tommie L. Pierson, Pastor of Greater St. Mark Family Church and former Representative from the 66th District of Missouri (not pictured); Moderator – Bernice Hayes – Journalist (not pictured)


Diversity, Inclusion and the Elimination of Bias CLE Credit


The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission is pleased to announce that New York CLE Board has added a new category of CLE credit entitled Diversity, Inclusion and the Elimination of Bias. This regulation is effective January 1, 2018 and is defined in Program Rules NYCRR 1500.2(c)-(g). A description is outlined below. All attorneys will have an opportunity to learn and benefit from this new category

Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias courses, programs and activities must relate to the practice of law and may include, among other things, implicit and explicit bias, equal access to justice, serving a diverse population, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal profession, and sensitivity to cultural and other differences when interacting with members of the public, judges, jurors, litigants, attorneys and court personnel. [effective January 1, 2018].


Comission Members


Hon. Richard B. Lowe, Chair
Hon. Troy K. Webber, 1st Vice Chair
Sandra Rivera, Esq, 2nd Vice Chair
Hon. Vanessa Bogan
T. Andrew Brown, Esq.
Hon. George B. Daniels
Hon. Kathie Davidson
Linda Dunlap-Miller, J.D., MSW
Lenora B. Foote, Esq.
Hon. Craig D. Hannah
Nadine C. Johnson, Esq.
Hon. Barbara R. Kapnick
Paul Kenny, Esq.
Lenore Kramer, Esq.

Hon. Yvonne Lewis
Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan
Clemont Mack
Hon. Stephen T. Miller
Hon. Eduardo Padro
Hon. Joanne D. Quiñones
Hon. Richard Rivera
Hon. Robert E. Torres
Adrienne Williams, Esq.
Hon. Rose H. Sconiers, Chair
Emeritus Hon. Lewis L. Douglass, Chair
Emeritus Joyce Y. Hartsfield, Executive Director
Karlene Dennis, Associate Counsel