August 2023, San Diego, CAFMJA conducted a Robes in Schools program in conjunction with the Federal Judicial Center’s mid-year conference. We had twenty magistrate judges from across the country participate at six schools across the San Diego area: San Diego High School, King Chavez Community High School, Clairemont High School, Madison Senior High, Mission Bay Senior High, and Montgomery High School. We were able to reach about three hundred students. The program had two parts and was based on a curriculum developed by Judge Song Quiroga with input from several colleagues. The presentations began with an introduction of each of the judges and a discussion of how their lives and careers led them to the bench. They described the role of the federal judiciary and the magistrate judges. The second part consisted of a hypothetical scenario where alien invaders had taken over the earth and required the United States citizens to decide which five rights in the Bill of Rights they would give up.


The judges who participated included: Judge Jeff Armistead (District of Oregon), Judge Susan Bazis (District of Nebraska), Judge Sonja Bivins (SD Alabama), Judge Jill Burkhardt (SD California), Judge Daniel Butcher (SD California), Judge Ben Cheesbro (SD Georgia), Judge Gabe Fuentes (ND Illinois), Judge Derek Gilliland (WD Texas), Judge Allison Goddard (SD California), Judge Debora Grasham (District of Idaho), Judge Emile Henderson, III (District of the Virgin Islands), Judge Yvonne Ho (SD Texas), Judge Dustin Howell (WD Texas), Judge Herman Johnson, Jr. (ND Alabama), Judge Nicole Mitchell (ED Texas), Judge Diana Song Quiroga (SD Texas), Judge Karen Scott (CD California), Judge Peter Silvain (SD Ohio), Judge Kate Vaughan (WD Washington), and Judge Stephen Welby (ED Missouri).


July 2019, Redondo Beach, CA – With Judge Nancy Joseph leading the effort again, a diverse group of Magistrate Judges met with approximately 100 middle and high school students at two Los Angeles area Boys & Girls clubs in July 2019 in conjunction with the FMJA Redondo Beach conference.  The club locations were the Carson Boys & Girls Club in Carson, CA and Boys & Girls Club of LA Harbor in San Pedro, CA.  These programs began by convening in one room with all of the students and judges who introduced themselves to each other. After the introductions, the judges divided into small breakout groups of six to ten students with one judge meeting with each smaller group.  During the breakout sessions, judges shared their path to the bench and what they do on a day to day basis in their judicial role and answered the students’ questions.  The Carson club students met with Judges Celeste Bremer, SDIA, Gina Simms, MDMD, Jim Sickel, EDWI, Shiva Hodges, DSC, Omar Aboulson, SDWV, and Jodi Payne, NDOK.  Judges Nancy Joseph, EDWI, Jeremy Peterson, EDCA, Renee Toliver, NDTX, Stephen Jackson, SDIA, Karen Williams, DNJ, Bruce Reinhart, SDFL, Katharine Parker, SDNY, Noelle Collins, EDMO, connected with the students at the San Pedro club. 

April 2019, Miami, FL – With Judge Nancy Joseph, EDWI, at the helm, the Robes in Schools program was held in conjunction with the Miami conference in April 2019.  The students really appreciated having time with the judges.  Ten judges were dispatched to six High Schools in the City of Miami.  The judges discussed their career paths, the role of Federal Courts, and their day to day duties as a Magistrate Judge.  Students asked difficult questions about access to courts for all and the fair and impartial administration of justice in our society.  The feedback was terrific from the participating schools and by all accounts the program was very well received.  Judge Joe Webster, MDNC, conversed with students from Miami Edison High School; Judge Sarah Hays, WDMO, met with students at Turner Technical High School;  Judges Alka Sagar, CDCA, and William Duffin, EDWI, presented to students at Miami Central High School; Judges Candice Westmore, NDCA, and Andrew Edison, SDTX, spent time with students at Miami Northwestern High School; Judges Willie Epps, Jr., WDMO, and Susan van Keulen, NDCA, connected with students at Booker T. Washington High School; and Judges Sashi Kewalramani, CDCA, and Lauren Louis, SDFL, joined students at Miami Jackson High School.  In total, over 700 students of diverse backgrounds had the opportunity to learn about our judges and the role of the federal courts in our government.  Judges Alicia Otazo-Reyes and Alicia Valle, both of the SDFL, along with AUSA J. D. Smith, also from the SDFL, helped organize the outreach program.   April 

April 2015, Seattle, WA. Click here to view the program writeup.

Nancy Dunham (AO Fair Employment Practices Officer), MJ Leo Brisbois (District of Minnesota), Brad Smith, Esq. (President Microsoft Corp.), Chief DJ Ricardo Martinez (Western District of Washington), MJ Linda Walker (Northern District of Georgia), Bruce Rifkin (Former Chief Clerk Western District of Washington)