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JSI in the News

Founders in the News

Judge Brian MacKenzie (Ret.) writes about the importance of honesty in investigations.

‘People of Flint Need an Island of Honesty’

The people of City of Flint were poisoned. There is no evidence that this was intentional; rather Flint’s citizens were treated like numbers in an accountant’s ledger, where spending the least money was thought to be the best decision.  It was when members of the Snyder administration understood that their decision was poisoning people, and then lied to protect that decision, that the corruption began.

The consequences of this corrupt decision may have killed the ten people who died from legionnaries disease and most certainly left thousands of children to suffer from lead poisoning for the rest of their lives. The unfiltered water in Flint is still not safe to drink.

Three staff members from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality resigned or were fired. Investigations were started.   A congressional committee issued subpoenas; Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed a special prosecutor.


Judge Brian MacKenzie (Ret.) writes about the need for a good public defender system in the State of Michigan

Too Many Jailed Needlessly Because They Lack an Attorney

Jennifer Myers could not pay $91.99 a month in child support. So she was arrested and when brought to court, where without an attorney, she was put in jail for 30 days.

According to the coroner she died died in the Macomb County jail from a sepsis infection.

However, what she may have really died from was not having an attorney. If she had been provided an attorney, as the constitution requires when someone is facing incarceration, she might not have been jailed and her family wouldn’t be suing Macomb County.


Judge Brian MacKenzie (Ret.) speaks about Fleet Safety and Minimizing Liability

“How Fleets Can Minimize Liability Exposure”

“Once you’ve hired someone, make sure that you have a good training course so that you can show that you’re training these people, that you do annual traffic safety record checks, and make sure they have no accidents they haven’t failed to tell you about,” said Judge Brian MacKenzie, CFO at the Justice Speakers Institute. “Have a good policy in place where, if someone fails to tell you about a traffic violation, there are employment consequences for that person. By doing all of that it makes it much more difficult to sue both the drivers, who have been trained, and the company, more importantly from the company’s standpoint.”


David Wallace, “The Safety Guy,” to Speak at CEI’s NAFA I&E Booth

Nationally renowned safety expert David Wallace will be the featured speaker at The CEI Group Inc.’s booth at the NAFA Institute and Exposition in Austin, TX, next month. He will speak on “The Four Steps to Creating a Traffic Safety Culture at Work” at 11 am on both Wednesday, April 20st, and Thursday April 21nd at CEI’s Booth # 501, and will be available to meet and greet visitors and answer questions before and after his talk.


Judge Peggy Hora lays down the law to the ACT

As the ACT’s (Australia’s Capital Territory) jail is forced to expand, retired Californian Judge Peggy Hora is calling on the territory to catch up with the rest of Australia by introducing a drug court.

She says it would force people into treatment and keep many offenders out of jail.

Ms Hora is renowned for her expertise in “problem-solving courts”, which hold pre-sentencing hearings that aim to help offenders overcome the reasons they break the law.


Drug and alcohol courts an eye-opener

Four years ago The Howard League president Tony Gibbs and I went to the American Embassy in Wellington to hear an address by a retired Californian Judge, Peggy Hora.

Judge Hora was the pioneer of drug and alcohol courts in California. These are an alternative to imprisonment and their development was driven by huge overcrowding in the Californian jails as a result of the punitive American Justice system and the state’s adoption of a “three strikes” punishment system.

In 2012, as a result of a recommendation by our Law Commission, and the influence of far sighted reformers like Peggy Hora, the New Zealand Government set up two pilot drug and alcohol courts, one in Central Auckland and another in West Auckland. This experiment was funded with $2 million over four to five years and the courts were to be evaluated over that period.


Mornings with Jon Faine

Known for his quick wit and willingness to ask the stickiest of questions, Jon Faine delivers thought-provoking radio.  In this episode he speaks with Judge Peggy Hora (Ret.) about the need for Drug Courts in Australia. Listen to episode below.

Mornings With Neil Mitchell

Neil Mitchell’s 3AW Morning program has dominated the airwaves and set Melbourne’s news agenda for almost two decades. Judge Peggy Hora (Ret.) speaks with Neil about Drug Courts and their ability to change behavior. Listen to episode below.

Associates in the News

judge Kevin Burke of Minnesota

Courts Are Perceived “Negatively” by People of Color in the USA

Chief Judge Kevin Burke. was interviewed by Tom Hodson for the podcast Spectrum.

Minnesota trial judge Kevin Burke is concerned about negative public perceptions of our courts – especially among people of color.

People too often believe they are treated unfairly and that judges are biased and make their decisions based upon “political views” and not the law. They also think judges are not understandable and that court processes are mysteries.

Judge Burke is on a mission to stem this negative tide. He has studied this issue, done surveys, written about it and is lecturing extensively to judicial groups across the country.

Read the rest of the article or listen to the podcast episode by clicking the link below.

judge Kevin Burke of Minnesota

Could Atticus Finch Get Elected by Judge Burke

Chief Judge Kevin Burke. wrote Could Atticus Finch Get Elected for the MinnPost.

Atticus Finch, the fictional lawyer in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” passionately believed in justice. He didn’t like criminal law, yet he accepted the appointment to represent Tom Robinson, an African-American man charged with raping a young white girl. The story, set in Maycomb County, Alabama, in the early 1930s, portrays a lawyer who felt that the justice system should be colorblind. Had Atticus Finch run for office after the trial, could he have been elected? 

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below.

judge Kevin Burke of Minnesota

Minnesota Litigator Interviews former Hennepin County Chief Judge Kevin Burke

Minnesota Litigator was recently honored with the privilege of an interview with former Hennepin County Chief Judge Kevin Burke.

The executive summary: Judge Burke’s passion, humility, and thoughtfulness are inspiring. Minnesota’s judicial system owes him quite a lot.

judge Kevin Burke of Minnesota

Chad Hartman interviews Hennepin County Chief Judge Kevin Burke

Chad Hartman, weekdays Noon-3 p.m. on WCCO, with the latest news, sports and topics making headlines in Minnesota and around the world.

Chad spends the hour with Hennepin County District Court Judge Kevin Burke.

Listen to the episode.

JSI Associate Cynthia Herriott

Working to Bring Our Community Together

After more than 20 years in law enforcement, Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan has great insight on police and community relations. Her unique perspective makes her a tremendous asset as Chief Executive Officer of Rise Up Rochester, a 501(c ) (3) nonprofit human services agency that empowers the community to establish and maintain a nonviolent culture and provides support to crime victims and their families.