Center For Judicial Excellence


Family Court Crisis
In 2008, CJE expanded upon our efforts to build awareness around the systemic failures within the family court system through our award-winning documentary and a new national photography exhibit.

·    Photo Exhibit – Family Court Crisis: Surviving A Broken System premiered on December 2nd in Washington D.C. at Justice for Children’s annual holiday fundraiser. To view an online version of the exhibit that CJE created with Photojournalist James Hall, go to www.centerforjudici alexcellence. org/PhotoExhibit .htm.

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U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spoke passionately about the importance of our work as “advocates for children” at a recent Justice for Children fundraiser in Washington, D.C., where CJE’s new national photo exhibit premiered.

·    Documentary Film – Family Court Crisis: Our Children at Risk was screened at a host of venues in 2008, including state, national and international conferences. Through these screenings, CJE educated hundreds of people across the country about the systemic gaps in our family courts that are placing thousands of children at risk. Click here to watch the trailer online. This online version of the documentary was viewed by more than 10,000 people in 2008.

·    Distribution Agreement – In February of this year, CJE signed a three-year distribution agreement with Seattle-based distributor Intermedia, Inc. to market Family Court Crisis to organizations, libraries, educational institutions and others.

·    Honors & Awards – Both the 42-minute and 12-minute versions of the documentary were awarded numerous honors by various film festivals and competitions. The film’s 2008 honors and awards include:
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o    Accepted to the 2008 Girlfest Film Festival (42-minute film) in Honolulu where it was screened on November 15th.


o    Awarded the 2008 Accolade Honorable Mention for Feature Documentary: 42-minute film. (http://www.accolade competition. org/)


o    Awarded the 2008 Accolade Honorable Mention for Viewer Impact: Content/Message Delivery: 42-minute film


o    Selected as a Semifinalist for the 2008 Action/Cut Short Film Documentary: 12-minute film  (http://www.actioncu t.com/)

Community Education
CJE continued our strong commitment to community education in 2008 by hosting and participating in a number of community education forums, conferences and other important events.

·    Judicial Forum Series – On October 9th, CJE hosted its 5th public forum, Traffic Forum: What you need to know from traffic stop to final outcome. Moderated by ABC7 News Anchor Cheryl Jennings and co-hosted by the Action Coalition for People of Color, the forum focused on traffic court and featured a panel of experts that engaged in a meaningful discussion about the public’s rights and responsibilities on the road, and in the courtroom. Click here to learn more about the forum.

·    Conferences & Presentations – CJE was asked to participate in a number of educational forums and conferences around the country in 2008, including:CJE Event Photo

o    2008 Battered Mother’s Custody Conference in Albany, New York.
o    2008 Institute on Violence Abuse & Trauma Conference in San Diego, California.
o    2008 California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Lobby Day in Sacramento, California.
o    2008 Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference in Sacramento, California.

Advocacy
This year we enjoyed tremendous success educating elected officials about the systemic gaps in the California courts and potential solutions to fix them. Our board members and staff consultants engaged in candid discussions with county supervisors, state legislators and court officials.

·    Hearings Mobilization – This past June, CJE and the California Protective Parents Association (CPPA) successfully mobilized over 70 women from across the state to submit testimony to the California Commission on the Status of Women, urging them to prioritize family law reform as part of their 2009-2010 legislative agenda. We understand that the Commission has incorporated some of our ideas into their agenda, which is due to be published any day.

·    Judicial Performance Evaluation (JPE) Bill – CJE drafted a bill to create a statewide Judicial Performance Evaluations program to bolster accountability in the California courts. We are currently working with Assembly Judiciary Committee staff and others to develop a cost-neutral accountability program for the California Judiciary.

·    Family Court Audit – CJE worked with CPPA and Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber to submit a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) requesting a performance audit of some California family courts – click here to read a Capitol Weekly article about it. Due to the absence of the committee chair, the JLAC committee did not meet after the request was completed. CJE is negotiating with an Assembly leader who is interested in re-introducing the audit request in 2009, since Rep. Lieber was termed out of office.

CJE’s also been working with allies to keep the Elkins Family Law Task Force accountable – click here to read more from the Capitol Weekly…

With the foundation laid and with your support, we expect 2009 to bring even greater success.

Together, we can rebuild public trust in our courts, reinforcing the the judiciary as a well-managed model of integrity, justice and equality.

From all of us at CJE…

Wishing you peace & joy in this historic year!

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