The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has designated the Honorable Robert E. Morin to serve as Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Court”). Judge Morin will assume the office on October 1, 2016.
The Commission considered five outstanding candidates for the position of Chief Judge: the Honorable Judith Bartnoff, the Honorable Erik P. Christian, the Honorable Robert E. Morin, the Honorable Hiram Puig-Lugo, and the Honorable Lee F. Satterfield. Each candidate has served the Superior Court with distinction and brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the Court. The Court and the residents of the District of Columbia are fortunate that such talented and committed individuals were willing to take on the additional duties and responsibilities of Chief Judge.
In making this designation, the Commission carefully considered the results of background investigations, interviews, public comments, and each candidate’s statement of interest, experience, qualifications, judicial temperament, interest and experience in Court administration, ethics, commitment to diversity, leadership skills, ability to advocate for and promote confidence in the Court system, intellectual leadership, and their visions for the Court, including plans for addressing the challenges facing the Court in the next four years.
The Commission invited public comment on each candidate, and is pleased to note that it received an unprecedented number of letters, evaluations, and calls from members of the bench, bar, and public. Over 700 evaluations and letters were received from a diverse group of individuals and organizations. The Commission expresses its appreciation to all those who took the time to submit the many thoughtful and insightful comments that were received.
The Commission extends its sincere thanks to Judge Lee F. Satterfield for his outstanding service during his two terms as the Chief Judge of the Court. Chief Judge Satterfield’s service as an Associate Judge in the Civil Division, Criminal Division, Family Division, and as Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Unit and Family Court prior to his being designated Chief Judge set a sterling example of how judges can progress in their judicial careers. Among his many accomplishments too numerous to recount here, Chief Judge Satterfield created a process for grooming new leaders on the Court. That process has culminated in the Commission’s designation of the Honorable Robert E. Morin as Chief Judge.
Judge Morin has served the citizens of the District of Columbia for much of his legal career. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University Law School in 1977, Judge Morin served in private practice as well as in a variety of public interest positions including in the Criminal Division of the D.C. Law Students in Court Program, the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland, where he undertook representation of defendants in lead death penalty cases. In 1996, Judge Morin was nominated by President William J. Clinton and appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
During his twenty years on the Court, Judge Morin has served in the Criminal Division, Civil Division, and Family Court, and was the Presiding and Deputy Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division. Judge Morin has demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities throughout his tenure. One of many examples was his responsibility for the reform and management of the Criminal Justice Act Panel of attorneys. That effort resulted in significant improvements in the quality of legal representation of indigent persons. Judge Morin has also served on numerous Court committees, holding leadership positions on many of them.
Since 1991, Judge Morin has been an adjunct faculty member at the Georgetown Law Center, teaching Evidence and Capital Punishment. Judge Morin is dedicated to educating the public about the judiciary and critical legal issues and to that end he speaks regularly at educational and community events in the District of Columbia and elsewhere.
In 2011, after completing his first fifteen-year term as an Associate Judge, Judge Morin was reappointed to a second term by the Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure. In reappointing him, that Commission stated as follows:
Judge Morin has received unstinting praise from attorneys who regularly appear before him and from the Court staff with whom he works, for the fair and efficient manner in which he handles cases. Indeed, in investigating Judge Morin's qualifications for reappointment, the Commission did not hear a single critical comment about him. On the contrary, the reaction of members of the Bar and Court staff was universally laudatory about his excellent temperament and demeanor, his respectful treatment of all litigants, lawyers, and Court personnel.
The many comments the Commission received regarding Judge Morin were similarly laudatory. Judge Morin is widely respected by colleagues, court staff, litigants, attorneys, public officials and other members of the community, and he has been recognized for his leadership, intellect, temperament, integrity, commitment, and vision. Judge Morin has committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve improvements in access to justice as well as improvements in other areas identified by stakeholders. The Commission is confident that the Court and the citizens of the District of Columbia will be well-served by Judge Morin’s extensive experience and exceptional abilities.
A list of Commissioners, all of whom participated in this designation, is attached. Contact the Commission’s Executive Director for more information at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].
Members of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission
Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, Chair
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Ronald S. Flagg, Esq.
Legal Services Corporation
3333 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Mr. William Lucy
Vice President, AFL-CIO
1831 Sudbury Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20012
Natalie O. Ludaway, Esq.
Office of the Attorney General
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 1100 S
Washington, DC 20001
John J. McAvoy, Esq.
3110 Brandywine Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Woody N. Peterson, Esq.
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 375
Washington, DC, 20006
D (202) 899-4103
F (612) 336-9100
Rev. Morris L. Shearin, Sr.
Israel Baptist Church
1251 Saratoga Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20018