The National Center for State Courts announced today that District of Columbia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington will begin a one-year term as chairman of the nonprofit's Board of Directors this week.
The center advises and conducts research on best practices for the administration of state courts nationwide.
Washington was appointed to the group's board for a four-year term in 2009. His chairmanship of the board is timed to coincide with his pending role as president of the Conference of Chief Justices, which also takes effect this week.
In a phone interview this morning, Washington said his top priority is continuing the board's efforts to provide courts with guidance in coping with budget cuts.
"The board right now is focused on providing best practices for re-engineering state courts in light of the ongoing fiscal crisis ... and also utilizing its resources to promote full funding for court operations in conjunction with [American Bar Association] initiatives," Washington said.
Washington said his other goals include working with the center's international program to promote the "the export of our rule of law to developing democracies." As president of the chief judges' conference, Washington said that in addition to funding issues, he'll focus on pre-trial justice reform, improving access to the courts for indigent and self-represented litigants, and promoting civics education.
“In order to fulfill our mission to improve the administration of justice, the National Center relies on the support and experience of the people who work every day in our nation’s courts,” said Mary McQueen, the center’s president, in a statement. “For 16 years, Chief Judge Washington has been a leader in the judiciary, and we are fortunate now to be able to rely on his leadership of our Board.”
Washington was sworn in to a second term as chief judge of the city’s highest court in 2009. He was sworn in as an associate justice to the court in 1999. He was previously an associate judge with the District of Columbia Superior Court from 1995 to 1999.
The center also announced this morning that its new board members include Pamela Harris, the court administrator for the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Md. Harris will serve a four-year term.