The following are just a few examples of the impact NJEP’s educational programs, resources, and publications have had on the judiciary, justice system professionals and educators and victims of sexual assault and gender bias in the courts.
IMPACT ON THE JUDICIARY
- “I was quite shocked at the information we received indicating the disparity between males and females and the treatment of them in the courts… Many of the myths that are taken as fact by judges were shattered by your presentation and the correct situation was revealed. It was the impact of knowledge on ignorance.”
- A judge at NJEP’s 1981 pilot course, Judicial Discretion: Does Sex Make a Difference?, presented in California.
- NJEP’s judicial education programs inspired New Jersey's Cheif Jutice to form the first supreme court task force to combat gender bias in the courts in 1982. Over the next decade, more than forty states and seven federal circuits established task forces mandated to document discriminatory court decisions, polices, and practices and recommend reforms to eradicate these barriers to equal justice.
- “I have been on the bench for twenty-five years and this was the best judicial education program I’ve ever attended.”
- An Oregon judge attending the first presentation of NJEP’s model judicial education curriculum, Understanding Sexual Violence: The Judicial Response to Stranger and Nonstranger Rape and Sexual Assault in 1995 in Oregon.
- A Michigan judge telephoned the NJEP Director to tell her that he had just read her Credibility in the Courts article, originally published in 1995. The judge followed the article’s suggestion to closely question the victim herself in order to establish her fear and the steps she took to protect herself, which the prosecutor had failed to do. These steps helped the judge find probable cause to bind the defendant over for trial based on stalking allegations.
- “Our court will redo our orders to track many of the recommendations”
- The Principal Court Attorney for the Bronx, New York Domestic Violence Court writing to NJEP in response to NJEP Director Lynn Hecht Shafran's 2003 Judges’ Journal article, “Evaluating the Evaluators: The Problem with ‘Outside Neutrals,’” published in Judicature and quoted from on the bench that morning. The article addresses the gender bias and indifference to domestic violence and marital rape shown by many custody evaluators. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges then distributed the article at a Custody and Visitation Symposium.
- “I am forwarding the link to this site to my colleagues in the family court because I think this is the most comprehensive and well-documented summary of the law and social research in this critical [area].”
- A Delaware Superior Court judge regarding NJEP’s 2008 web course/ resource Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: Adjudicating this Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence Cases, 2008. (link)
IMPACT ON OTHER JUSTICE SYSTEM PROFESSIONALS
- “I just read Judges Tell: What I Wish I Had Known Before I Presided in an Adult Victim Sexual Assault Case, and I just wanted to write you a fan letter! This is a terrific resource for all professionals in the sexual assault field. You do an amazing job of presenting extensive, complex material in an accessible manner. I hope very judge in America reads this, and I know we will use this document in our educational efforts.”
- Program Management Specialist with the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, 2011.
- “Our Coalition purchased Legal Momentum’s Understanding Sexual Violence DVD curriculum, (link) which addresses the handling of sexual violence cases in the court, for over 125 of New Mexico’s judges. This DVD included [critical footage] of David Lisak, Ph.D. presenting his research on non-stranger rape in a practical, inspired manner. This simple piece of media changed how our Coalition and New Mexico’s prosecutors and law enforcement investigators trained on and responded to the most common form of sexual violence.”
- Executive Director, New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, 2010.
- “The work you do and the networks you have built have had a positive impact on the coordinated community response way out in the little town of Flagstaff, AZ! I cannot thank you enough for being accessible to our needs and pointing me in positive directions.”
- Arizona Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) Coordinator regarding a training provided to her county's judiciary in 2013. The training was imposed after a judge told a victim of sexual abuse, “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.”
IMPACT ON SURVIVORS OF GENDER BIAS AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
- “I have just come across your article titled, Barriers to Credibility: Understanding and Countering Rape Myths. Thank you so much for publishing this. I was recently sexually assaulted. My boyfriend, although he is wonderful in every other way, has a lot of misconceptions about rape and has for the past two days blamed me for my assault, and told me that what happened constitutes to “cheating” on him. I spoke with a crisis hotline, but your article has done so much more for me than the counselor in terms of making me feel better about what happened and empowering me to stand up for myself and my feelings about the actions that took place.”
- A victim of sexual assault, 2011.
IMPACT ON THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION MODEL CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
- The findings of the task forces on gender bias in the courts were a key consideration in the decision of the American Bar Association (ABA) to amend its Model Code of Judicial Conduct—the model for state codes of judicial conduct across the U.S. As a result, the ABA Model Code and state codes nationwide made the use of gender bias in judicial arguments, decisions and proceedings the basis for sanctions.
- The Code now provides that a judge may not, “by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, or engage in harassment, including but not limited to bias, prejudice, or harassment based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, and shall not permit court staff, court officials, or others subject to the judge’s direction and control to do so,” and must prevent lawyers in his or her tribunal from manifesting the same.
- For more information about NJEP’s role in reforming the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, please see:
- NJEP Director Lynn Hecht Schafran’s testimony to the Joint Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct (2004).
- NJEP Director Lynn Hecht Schafran’s article, The Obligation to Intervene: New Direction from the American Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct, originally published in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (1990).
- See examples of the Cannon being used to sanction and reverse gender biased judicial behavior and decision-making:
- Judge Boone’s Reprimand Also Demonstrates Progress by Lynn Hecht Shafran, appearing in Ms. JD (2008).
- State of California Before the Commission on Judicial Performance in the Matter Concerning Judge Derek G. Johnson” Decision and Order Imposing Public Admonishment (2012).
- Catchpole v. Brannon (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 237 [42 Cal.Rptr.2d 440]