The arrival of the vernal equinox brings spring and the hope of all things renewed. May a little more sunlight and warmer temperatures encourage optimism and renewed energy in each of us.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, “the only constant is change,” and I suppose it is true enough. With the departure of Steve Canterbury as state court administrator in West Virginia in January, COSCA lost a great friend and our president elect. Through the process established by the COSCA bylaws, Callie Dietz steps into that positon a year early and now serves as president elect. The resulting vacancy in the office of vice president was filled by vote of the Board of Directors, electing Sally Holewa. The Nominating Committee proposed Joe Baxter for election as vice president when COSCA votes in August to elect officers. With the recent retirements of Dan Becker, Lilia Judson, and JD Gingerich went decades of experience and wisdom, along with trusted friends. We will say goodbye to two more longstanding and respected members of our community when Rosalyn Frierson becomes a judge in July and in September when David Boyd retires.
In spite of the turbulence that change brings, we are fortunate to have many talented members willing and able to keep COSCA vibrant. When we gather in Philadelphia in August, please try to meet as many of our new members as possible and encourage each of them to get involved in whatever interests them among the legion of COSCA committees and projects. What you accomplish as members of these committees amazes me. Thank you, and keep up the good work!
Challenges facing COSCA are not in short supply. Transition to a new federal administration always brings uncertainty, especially when the executive changes political parties. Among other unknowns, it is not clear what the funding priorities for grants will be, whether there will continue to be a focus on language access in the courts, the degree to which there will be federal support for civil and criminal justice reform, and how the new focus on immigration will be felt in state courts. On the last topic, JD Gingerich recently sent out some valuable information in his new role supporting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Study Group. NCSC has also been a great information resource for courts struggling to adjust to ICE activities in and around courts.
Constant change—perhaps a theme for the work of all state court administrators. I hope spring brings to each of you the replenished energy to make the changes you face positive ones.
Chief Justice Durrant Announces Utah’s New State Court Administrator
Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant announced the appointment of Richard H. Schwermer as the Utah State Courts’ new state court administrator on March 10, 2017. Richard has served with the Utah State Courts since 1990 and as assistant state court administrator since 1995. Among other duties, he has served as the judiciary’s representative to the Utah legislature; coordinated the development, funding, and certification of Utah’s drug courts and other problem-solving courts; and served as Utah’s justice court administrator. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. His first day as state court administrator will be May 1. He is replacing Dan Becker, who is retiring after 21 years of service as Utah’s state court administrator.
Revised Guide for Hiring a State Court Administrator Now Available
Many states have been or will be faced with the daunting task of recruiting and selecting a well-qualified state court administrator. In response to this challenge, the CCJ/COSCA Court Management Committee has revised its Recommended Steps and Practices for the Recruitment, Selection and Retention of State Court Administrators. These recommendations stem from the knowledge and experience of committee members and have been broadly informed by an extensive survey distributed to all members of COSCA and six past presidents of NACM. The recommended steps and practices are organized into five categories:
Getting started by ensuring that you have the right work environment for the right candidate
Developing and implementing your search strategy
Screening and evaluating your candidates
Making your selection
Developing an onboarding plan and strategies.
New Tools Available for Managing High-Profile Cases
What if your court got the next Jerry Sandusky, Kobe Bryant, or Boston bomber case? Would you know how to prepare for the crowds, the security, the media spotlight? To help courts be ready from Day One on how to handle a high-profile case, a new website—Managing High-Profile Cases for the 21st Century—has been launched. The website offers best practices, techniques, and tools that have proven useful to courts that have experienced high-profile trials, in addition to checklists to help the trial judge, administrative officer, security personnel, jury managers, and others provide public access while ensuring a fair trial. The website is a joint project of the National Center for State Courts, the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, and the National Judicial College.
Member Spotlight: Martin Hoshino, California
Why and how did you become a state court administrator?
I’ve always been interested in the legal profession and the justice system. In my younger days, I seriously considered becoming a lawyer, but my career took me down a path of public service with the executive branch. At the time I was approached about the administrativedirector position with the Judicial Council in 2014, I was undersecretary of operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and just finishing the state-level part of a major public-safety reform. When the prospect of working in the judicial branch presented itself, I saw it as a chance to reconnect with that earlier passion. I‘ve been able to see the system from many sides and have this great opportunity to work with an exceptional chief justice who is committed to advancing fairness and access in our courts, and modernizing a vital part of California government. Lastly, the more I considered the job, the more people told me I shouldn’t do it, so I had to accept!
What do you like most and least about being a state court administrator?
The most enjoyable aspect of the job is being one the leading voices in the largest court system in the country, where there is an incredible amount of opportunity to help people. I also enjoy working with some of the most intelligent, committed, and hardworking people around. What I like least is the level and rate of turnover with policy-making leadership. It makes it difficult to move an agenda of any significant size. There’s a constant continuum of education, awareness raising, and experience that comes into play. Change is at a pace that’s slower than I’m used to in the other branches. But, I appreciate and respect the deliberative process of the judicial branch, and that by design, the three branches of government do move at different paces.
Tell us about your family.
I’m the grandson of migrant Japanese farmworkers. My Japanese father married my mother, a British bookkeeper, and settled in the United States. He had a career in the air force, so my siblings and I were military kids. I’ve been married for 25 great years. I have three kids, four rescued dogs, and one very smart, fat cat.
What is your philosophy about using social networking? If you use social networking, which sites do you prefer, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or others?
I don’t use it. It’s a lingering effect from my years in public safety. We intentionally stayed off. I do, however, see that it can be a tool for liberation that gives voice and power to small groups in ways we’ve never before seen. For the courts, social media is a viable and effective communication tool.
If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do?
I would work for free. But when I have the chance, I plan to go back to my family roots. My family were migrants who became farmers and fishermen. I was raised growing things, working the ocean, and spending lots of time outdoors, and I plan to find my way back to that one day.
Anniversaries . . .
COSCA congratulates the following members for achieving anniversaries in office in December through June: Mike Buenger of Ohio (2 years, plus 13 years in South Dakota and Missouri); Denis Moran of Wisconsin (2 years, plus 25 previous years, 1978-2003); Ted Glessner of Maine (25 years); Kingsley Click of Oregon (22 years); Anne Wicks of the District of Columbia and Jerry Marroney of Colorado (17 years); David Boyd of Iowa (14 years); Joe Baxter of Rhode Island (13 years); Pat Griffin of Delaware (12 years); Laurie Dudgeon of Kentucky (8 years); Kevin Lackey of Mississippi and Rod Maile of Hawaii (7 years); Robin Sweet of Nevada and Nancy Dixon of Kansas (6 years); David Slayton of Texas (5 years); Sandra Vujnovich of Louisiana and Corey Steel of Nebraska (3 years); Kathy Lloyd of Missouri, Deborah Tate of Tennessee, and Milt Mack of Michigan (2 years); and Chris Keating of New Hampshire (1 year).
. . . and Birthdays
Thirty-one COSCA member celebrate birthdays from December through June. Happy Birthday to Milton Mack of Michigan (December 21); Ted Glessner of Maine (December 23); Patricia (PK) Jameson of Florida (December 24); Glenn Grant of New Jersey and Artie Pepin of New Mexico (December 29); Joshua Tenorio of Guam (December 30); Lily Sharpe of Wyoming (January 8); Martin Hoshino of California (January 20); Beth McLaughlin of Montana (January 21); Pam Harris of Maryland (January 23); Christine Johnson of Alaska (January 24); Greg Sattizahn of South Dakota (January 31); Jerry Marroney of Colorado (February 20); Lawrence Marks of New York (March 21); Sally Holewa of North Dakota (April 8); Joe Baxter of Rhode Island (April 9); Pat Gabel of Vermont (April 11); Sandra Vujnovich of Louisiana (April 15); Dan Becker of Utah (April 19); Anne Wicks of the District of Columbia (April 21); Michael Buenger of Ohio and Patrick Carroll of Connecticut (April 23); Jari Askins of Oklahoma (April 27); Regina Petersen of the Virgin Islands (May 20); Kingsley Click of Oregon (May 26); Kathy Lloyd of Missouri (May 27); Laurie Dudgeon of Kentucky (May 31); Rosalyn Frierson of South Carolina (June 3); Marion Warren of North Carolina (June 6); Lilia Judson of Indiana (June 8); and Corey Steele of Nebraska (June 14).