[nfbwatlk] Appointment to Commission on Judicial Conduct

Mary ellen gabias at telus.net
Fri Jul 24 19:14:25 UTC 2015

Congratulations, Elizabeth.  Your thoughtfulness and forthrightness will be an asset to the board, and your service will send a message of capacity statewide.  

Mary Ellen

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Elizabeth Rene via nfbwatlk
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2015 10:26 AM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Cc: Elizabeth Rene
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Appointment to Commission on Judicial Conduct

Hi all,

This is just to let you know that, in June, the Washington State Bar Association's Board of Governors appointed me to serve on this state's Commission on Judicial Conduct for the next four years. The CJC promotes the independence and integrity of the judiciary by educating judges as to their ethical duties under the Code of Judicial Conduct and by responding to citizen complaints of unethical behavior on the bench. The CJC has the authority to admonish, reprimand, and censure judges, and to recommend to the Supreme Court that a judge be suspended, removed from office, or be required to retire for reasons of unethical conduct or incapacity.
This term, I will be serving as an "alternate member," paired with a full-member attorney whom I already know. Don't worry – this doesn't relegate me to the back bench. Because of busy trial schedules, constant deadlines, and self-recusals due to familiarity with the judge in question, alternates play a very active role. They must be prepared in every case and collaborate closely with their full member so that one of them can vote whenever necessary. Each appointee can serve two 4-year terms as an alternate and two 4-year terms as a full member, and must apply for appointment to either status each time. So a person can potentially serve for up to 16 years.
The stakes are high, and the learning curve is steep. I've already been flooded with homework. In October, I'm being sent to "CJC college" in Chicago for two days to meet CJC members from all over the country and to discuss judicial ethics issues emerging nationally. I must also attend annual CJC retreats here in Washington.
I strongly believe that every person should engage in community service of some kind. And one need not be sighted, or even be a lawyer, to serve on a state board or commission – even the CJC. There are dozens and dozens of state, county, and city boards and commissions covering every kind of subject were citizens of every background are invited to serve. Even professional boards include – very intentionally – "citizen" members with full voting rights. Travel costs are usually covered, and there's even sometimes a per diem stipend for meeting attendance.
Getting involved in community service is a great way to learn, to meet interesting people, to gain work experience, and to contribute in important ways. It also puts blindness way, way in the background. You have so many other things in common with those you've joined in public service.
I encourage everyone to energize their own interests and passions, and to get involved.

Best regards,

Elizabeth M René 
Attorney at Law 
WSBA #10710 
KCBA #21824
rene0373 at gmail.com 
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