The National Judicial College will hold a discussion on the importance of courtroom security and pay tribute to former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson for his commitment to the advancement of justice at a special event in Austin on March 3. The time was not included for security reasons.
Just months ago in Austin, a district court judge was ambushed in her home driveway, rattling the judicial community. Thankfully, she survived, but the incident put the importance and shortcomings of judicial security in the national spotlight.
John Muffler, an NJC faculty member and retired U.S Marshal, will give a presentation called “Judicial Independence: Threats and Security” Muffler will discuss how much of the threats and inappropriate communications made to judges are not properly documented by judicial security or law enforcement, thus leaving a greater potential risk to judicial safety, and indirectly, safety of the legal community and greater public.
The Advancement of Justice Award, to be given to Hon. Wallace Jefferson, is presented by The National Judicial College to those who have demonstrated dedication to improving skills of the judiciary in advancing justice. Current Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht will assist NJC President Chad Schmucker and NJC Board of Trustees President Matt Sweeney with presenting the awards.
“The National Judicial College is pleased to honor such an outstanding pillar of the legal community who has dedicated his career to advancing and accessing justice for all,” NJC President Chad Schmucker said. “The NJC applauds Justice Jefferson’s passion for improving the judiciary and looks forward to his future achievements.”
Jefferson is currently a partner at Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend. Prior to joining the firm, he was the 26th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001 and named Chief Justice in 2004, Jefferson made Texas Judicial history as the Court’s first African-American justice and chief justice. Under his leadership, the Court drastically reduced the number of cases carried over from one term to another and significantly increased the use of technology to improve efficiency, increase transparency and decrease costs. He has recently been honored with the 2015 Anti-Defamation League Austin Jurisprudence Award, honoring an outstanding member of the legal community who exhibits a commitment to equality, justice, fairness and community service.
“The National Judicial College has improved the administration of justice throughout the nation,” Jefferson said. “As a proud beneficiary of NJC’s excellent instruction, I am thrilled to receive this award.”
Winstead PC is host and is the key sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Chang, Alsaffar & Higginbotham PLLC and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and Craddock and Noelke PLLC.
“It’s a privilege for Winstead to host The National Judicial College’s award presentation to Justice Wallace B. Jefferson,” said Winstead’s Austin Managing Shareholder Stewart Whitehead. “We are honored to support the historic collaboration between the NJC and the American Bar Association and offer our congratulations to Justice Jefferson on his life-long commitment to the advancement of justice.”