Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 16

GOVERNMENT & GAVEL

ROBERT E. MORIN

From Advocate for the Underserved to Chief Judge
By William Roberts
of us in the South back then. It wasn't normal for
defendants to have lawyers in the post-conviction
proceedings where executions were being scheduled. We were traveling to different jurisdictions
representing people who were scheduled for
execution. It was extremely difficult. We had no
money and no resources.

What's your assessment of the legal services
situation in D.C.?

William Roberts

We have probably the finest public defender
service in the United States, and we have a very
strong criminal justice panel of lawyers. On the
criminal side, we have as good a representation
as any jurisdiction. On the civil side, we have
wonderful advocacy groups, organizations that
do great work. Even so, we don't have enough
lawyers to represent the people that need lawyers.
That's a gap. I hope to have an impact on that.

R

obert E. Morin, a former

Where did you grow up?

death row defense attorney,

A town called Weymouth [in Massachusetts]. It's
what we call the South Shore. It's sort of between
Boston and the Cape, a bedroom suburb. I come
from a working-class family. My brother and I were
the first ones to go to college and we worked our
way through school.

began his four-year term
as chief judge of the D.C.

Superior Court on October 1, 2016.
A 1977 graduate of The Catholic
University of America Columbus
School of Law, Morin helped found the
Southern Center for Human Rights in
Atlanta in 1982. He also served in the
Maryland Office of the Public Defender
from 1984 to 1986. Morin was a partner
at Fisher, Morin & Hansen, specializing
in criminal defense and death penalty
cases from 1986 to 1996, when he
was nominated by President Clinton
to serve on the D.C. Superior Court.
16

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2017

*

What caused you to want to be involved
in representing the poor?
My parents were very influential in my life. My
father was a carpenter, roofer, floor mechanic,
and construction worker. My mother was a legal
secretary. My mother was probably as good a
lawyer as anybody she worked for.

What was your first courtroom experience like?
The August I came to Washington, D.C., to go to law
school, Watergate was underway. Every morning
there was a new story that captured attention
and then, eventually, the resignation of President
Nixon. As a law student, I came down to watch the
Watergate trials. I had to stand in line overnight to
get into the courtroom, but I was fascinated by
the cases.

How did you get involved in representing
death row inmates in the South?
I was working to help start the Southern Center for
Human Rights in Atlanta. There were just a handful

How do you plan to address that gap?
Courts have to express the need, explain to the Bar,
and work together with legal aid organizations to
find solutions. I would say to lawyers in Washington,
D.C., that you should come to the courthouse and
offer your services to people who are in need. Work
with the Bar's Pro Bono Center. You will enrich your
professional career and fulfill a professional obligation to the community.

How do you keep tabs on your roster
of judges?
We are organized into five divisions: civil, criminal,
family, probate and tax, and domestic violence.
We have judges assigned to each division. Each
division has weekly meetings, and I try to attend
those. Then, each month we have the board of
judges meeting where we all get together. When
we are fully staffed, we have 62 judges and 24
magistrate judges.

What made you decide to become a judge?
It was serendipitous. I was asked to put in an
application, which I did, and didn't expect much
to come out of it. Next thing I know, the White
House was calling me. We have a local commission
that recommends three people for every vacancy.
The president picks one, nominates [him or her]
to the U.S. Senate, and then you go through Senate
confirmation. It's a unique process.


http://www.dcbar.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2017

Contents
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 5
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 6
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 9
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 10
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 12
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 18
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 30
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 34
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 38
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 41
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 42
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 44
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 46
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 48
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 52
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 53
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 54
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 55
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - 56
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2017 - Cover4
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/septemberoctober2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com