COSCA Bulletin - July 2013


     July 2013

A Message from the President

Don Goodnow

A heartfelt “thank you” to each of you for allowing me to serve as your President.  Throughout the year, I have seen firsthand the many contributions to the administration of justice made by our colleagues.  My confidence in our third branch of government, and especially in those who administer it, has only grown as the year unfolded.

I urge each of you to consider accepting a leadership position in COSCA.  Your service will benefit the organization; the experience will be personally and professionally rewarding to you. 

We expect a large turnout at the CCJ/COSCA annual meeting in Vermont where our education committee has planned excellent programs that will help us all when we return to our respective states.  Bob Greemore and Pat Gabel have planned lively social programs that will provide us with the opportunity to further our professional and personal relationships, and strengthen COSCA.  I look forward to seeing you in Burlington, and I wish Zig Pines all the best in his year as President of COSCA.

CCJ/COSCA Annual Conference and New Members

CCJ/COSCA members are preparing for the annual conference, July 27-31 in Burlington, Vermont.  The education program focuses on “Collaborative Justice: Interbranch Relations in the New Century,” and offers several sessions that provide varying perspectives on the topic. The social program offers something for everyone—literature, dance, and possibly lake monsters.

Come prepared to welcome some new COSCA members who will be attending their first annual conference:  Mike Tardy, Illinois, and Patricia Gabel, Vermont.


Trends in State Courts 2013 Now Available

 The National Center for State Courts has published the 25th-anniversay edition of Trends in State Courts.  This much anticipated annual publication examines emerging trends and initiatives that affect state court operations nationwide.The silver anniversary edition of Trends begins with a keynote article by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of New York about the state’s requirement that applicants to the state bar perform 50 hours of pro bono work before being admitted to practice law.  Other emerging initiatives discussed include:

  • Using courthouse observation teams to improve customer service
  • Understanding the impact of human trafficking on state courts
  • Making courts more nimble through the use of dynamic strategic networks in addition to strategic plans
  • Identifying access-to-justice issues for the poor

NCSC also launched a Trends website——which offers a new online “monthly” edition of Trends, including multimedia clips from authors to highlight and expand on their written pieces.

Two Harvard Papers Examine Court Issues

Two new Harvard Executive Session papers were published recently, covering the issues of how to make judicial funding a priority for all branches of government and whether courts should be defined as loosely coupled organizations. These papers are part of a series from the Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century.

In Maintaining Institutional Independence:  Funding Sustainable State Courts During Economic Crisis former Oregon Chief Justice Paul De Muniz argues that providing sustainable funding to the judiciary should be a priority for the legislative and executive branches, as well as the judiciary. Sustainable funding is a level at which the judiciary has both funding sufficient to dispense justice daily and to operate as a separate and equal branch of government able to ensure quality performance and future improvement. Suggestions are offered on how to build the alliances in the legislative budget proces s and obtain the public support necessary for obtaining and retaining sustainable judicial branch funding.

In Governance:  The Final Frontier, NCSC President Mary McQueen argues that court leaders should replace their longstanding focus on the model for governing private corporations and executive branch agencies with the more appropriate model offered by what are called “loosely coupled” organizations. State courts, like public hospitals and universities, provide services requiring extensive and specialized knowledge in a context of decentralized decision making. Consideration of the processes and mechanisms developed by leaders of loosely coupled organizations provides a new direction for achieving effective court governance and delivering public satisfaction.

Alec Ross, Senior Innovation Officer, Opens CTC 2013

CTC 2013, September 17-19 in Baltimore, features six educational tracks, each offering relevant and new information for judges and court administrators.  Tracks include:

  • Judicial officials' use of court technology
  • Self-represented litigants
  • Management of Court IT
  • Video remote interpretation
  • Reaping the benefits of court technology
  • Next-gen CMS and DMS

Keynote speaker Alec Ross, Senior Innovation Officer for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will discuss how to successfully adopt innovation into government service and show attendees how innovation can transform their courts. 

A discounted registration rate is being offered to COSCA members who register by August 31. Learn more at

Member Spotlight:  Callie Dietz, Washington

Why and how did you become a state court administrator?

One of my first jobs out of college was with a nonprofit organization that worked with the court system in my hometown to develop programs for substance abusers.  I enjoyed the contact and interest of the judges and their staff and the dedication I saw to making the community better.  As I moved on to Montgomery to work for the State of Alabama, I continued my work with the judicial system through some of the programs I directed at the Dept. of Mental Health and became involved with a new effort Chief Justice Torbert initiated.  He asked me to be a part of that commission and shortly after serving on it I was asked to join the staff of the AOC.  I loved all the various jobs I performed at AOC from continued work with substance abusers (way before drug courts ), to work with municipal courts, to juvenile and family courts, to wonderful judicial education, etc.  (I was either good at a variety of activities or they kept moving me around to keep me busy and out of trouble.)  I continued to be amazed at the dedication and skill of court officials and employees.  I became a state court administrator because I had a wonderful mentor and friend who became Alabama’s first female chief justice.  I was privileged to be asked by Sue Bell Cobb to share her vision and walk beside her in an attempt to restore faith and confidence in the judiciary and make sweeping reforms in sentencing, in juvenile law and in services to “fix people, not fill prisons.”  It was a great ride!  Then after 32 years I retired in Alabama and was given an amazing opportunity to do it all over again with another wonderful chief justice, Barbara Madsen, in Washington State.  I found the same commitment to excellence, dedication, and vision here and decided that it was worth a 3,000-mile change to have the chance to be part of a great new adventure. 

What do you like most and least about being a state court administrator?

I love the idea of being part of a vision to make meaningful change on a national and statewide basis; to be able to work with all three branches of government at the local and state level to resolve challenges that prevent us from living up to our full potential.  I love working with a staff that inspires me to be the best I can be and are invested in being true public servants to our court officials and personnel, as well as to those coming to courts for resolution to their problems.  I love my COSCA family and friends and the outstanding support you have given me over the years.  I least like the unwillingness or inability of people to explore new ideas or concepts; the annual battle of the budget, including no money to provide pay increases to staff who deserve it; and the lack of understanding about the importance of the judicial system in our country.

Tell us about your family.

I am the oldest of three children.  My brother and sister live in Alabama, as does my Mom.  My Dad passed away four days before I started at AOC.  My parents owned and operated their own store in northeast Alabama, where I worked after school and on weekends from age 12 through college.  I have an amazing husband, Don, who is retired from public service as the Director of Drug Treatment for the Alabama Department of Corrections.  We have two wonderful children, Seth and Lindsay.  Seth and his equally great wife, Chrystal, live in Portland, Oregon so we are now less than 120 miles away from them (which was also a huge part of the decision to move to Washington State).  Lindsay is the proud Mom to our two incredible grandsons, Aiden (5) and Isaac (3).  They moved with us to Washington where Lindsay is now working and the boys are enjoying day care, the Children’s Museum, and riding in a row boat with their Opa (Don). Our home is full of activity with the boys and our three Chihuahuas, Yoda, Grace, and PJ.  We are all having a wonderful time exploring our new state residence and nearby attractions such as whale watching, hiking, gardening, and playing in the snow (and rain).

What is your philosophy about using social networking? If you use social networking, which sites do you prefer, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or others?

I like and totally support technology and all our wonderful advances in that world; however, I am not a big fan of social networking.  I think that much of what comes through these sites and blogs is misinformed, mean-spirited, and a way to keep from being social.  My children love and use Facebook and interact enough with family and friends to keep me informed about their whereabouts and adventures.  So, while I don’t use Facebook I do enjoy the benefits of it.  I prefer the old fashion ways of interacting with people where I can actually talk with them.  I also love e-mail and find that it challenges me enough to keep up with correspondents and what I need to do.  I do see these as good tools for courts and others to get their message out to a large number of people.

If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do?

I love to travel and look forward to doing a lot of it with Don, our children, and grandchildren (and often, pets).  When I retire again, we have plans to visit (and maybe even work in during the summer) all the state parks.  I want to see as many sights as I can in all 50 states and sometime travel to Europe for an extended period of time.  When we aren’t traveling, I love to read and relax on beautiful sunny beaches and spend quality time with my family and friends, especially our grandsons.  Since I also believe strongly in community service, I will do some volunteer work with one or several nonprofit organizations when I have time.

Anniversaries . . .

COSCA congratulates the following members for achieving anniversaries in office in May, June, and July:  Kingsley Click of Oregon (18 years); David Boyd of Iowa, John Voelker of Wisconsin, and Lisa Goodner of Florida (10 years); Joe Baxter of Rhode Island (9 years); Janice Walker of Nebraska, Steve Canterbury of West Virginia, and Karl Hade of Virginia (8 years);  Joann Odendahl of Wyoming (4 years); Beth McLaughlin of Montana (2 years); and David Slayton of Texas, Callie Dietz of Washington, and Harry Spence of Massachusetts (1 year)

. . . and Birthdays

Sixteen COSCA members celebrate their birthdays in May, June, and July.  Happy Birthday to John Smith of North Carolina (May 9); Greg Linhares of Missouri (May 16); Kingsley Click of Oregon (May 26); Pat Duggan of South Dakota (May 31); Rosalyn Frierson of South Carolina (June 3); Lilia Judson of Indiana (June 8); Bob Greemore of Vermont (June 19); Steve Hollon of Ohio (June 20); Dave Byers of Arizona (July 7); David Boyd of Iowa and Karl Hade of Virginia (July 8); Marla Moore of Georgia (July 14); Zig Pines of Pennsylvania (July 15); Joann Odendah l of Wyoming and Gail Prudenti of New York (July 15); and John Voelker of Wisconsin (July 23).