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2017 Judge in Residence Lecture Focuses on State Laws Prohibiting Felons from Voting


Hon. DonaldCincinnati, OH –Recipient of over 100 awards, including the American Bar Association’s John H. Pickering Award of Achievement recognizing dedication to equal justice for all, and the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, Judge Bernice Donald has had an impressive professional journey, which she will share with the law community during her visit as the 2017 Judge in Residence. In addition to visiting classes and meeting with law students, Judge Donald will present several lectures:

  • Undermining Democracy Through Felony Disenfranchisement Laws” will be presented on Monday, February 20. During her lecture she will discuss state laws prohibiting millions of Americans with felony convictions from voting, and how these laws exist as barriers to democratic participation. Judge Donald will explore this pressing issue that implicates civil rights, social justice, and prison reform. The lecture will be presented on February 20, 2017 at 12:15 p.m. in Rm. 114.
  • Implicit Bias” will be presented on Tuesday, February 21 for the university community. Implicit bias is the process by which the brain uses mental associations that are so well-established as to operate without our awareness, intention, or control.  Judge Donald will discuss implicit bias and the way it manifests itself in our criminal justice system.  The lecture will be presented February 21, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in Rm. 118.  All events are free and open to the public.

About Hon. Bernice B. Donald

 Judge Donald has served in courts at some of the highest levels of the United States Judicial system. In 2010, Judge Donald was nominated by then President Barack Obama to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1995, then President Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Prior to these judgeships, she served the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee and State of Tennessee General Sessions Criminal Court.             

Barriers have been broken by Judge Donald’s appointments which have been history making.  Indeed, when accepting the position for the General Sessions Criminal Court, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the history of the state of Tennessee. She was also the first African American woman to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S District Court, and the U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

Judge Donald’s resume of appointments and achievements include notable positions, such as secretary of the American Bar Association, president of the American Bar Foundation, president of the National Association of Women Judges, and president of the Association of Women Attorneys.  She chaired the ABA Commission on Opportunities for Minorities; co-chaired the Task Force on Implicit Bias and Diversity for the ABA Section of Litigation; and in 2013, was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society.

Event Details: Februrary 20, 2017 |  12:15-1:15 PM  | Room 114

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These events are brought by the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Judge In Residence Program, which brings renowned judges into the academic and legal communities, sharing the theoretical and practical aspects of judicial decision-making.