Justice Denied: The Courts in Crisis?
What does a healthy state court system look like and how do we sustain one? Chief Justice Tom Balmer and retiring Justice Paul De Muniz will discuss the present and future of Oregon’s state courts. Between them, these speakers represent more than 30 years on the state’s appellate courts and another 30-plus years of private practice and government service. With an eye toward the 2013 legislative session, the justices will discuss the role of the courts and the risks of underfunding, the condition of the physical courts, progress toward electronic filing and record-keeping, court staffing, judicial and staff compensation, and funding for legal aid.
Chief Justice Thomas Balmer was elected by his colleagues as Oregon’s 43rd Chief Justice and began service on May 1, 2012. He was first appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor John Kitzhaber in 2001; he was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008. He practiced with the Portland law firm of Ater Wynne LLP and its predecessor firm, Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler, and also served as Managing Partner. Chief Justice Balmer has participated in various international legal programs, including lecturing on judicial ethics in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, under the auspices of the United Nations; working with judges and schools on law-related education in Zagreb, Croatia; and speaking to judges and court administrators through the Russian-American Rule of Law Consortium.
The Honorable Paul J. De Muniz was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2000 and served as the court's Chief Justice and administrative head of the Oregon Judicial Department from January 2006 to May 2012. Justice De Muniz speaks frequently to both national and international audiences on the importance of maintaining independent state judiciaries, improving state court administration and the need for adequate state court funding. Prior to ascending to the bench, Justice De Muniz was in private practice for 13 years with the Salem, Oregon, law firm of Garrett, Seideman, Hemann, Robertson and De Muniz P.C., where he specialized in complex criminal and civil litigation, as well as appeals. Justice De Muniz's work has been recognized with a number of state and national awards, including the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association's Paul J. De Muniz Professionalism Award, and the Edwin J. Peterson Racial Reconcilliation Award.