Judge of the Year
In the 31 years since two New Hampshire judges took a chance on a program that promised advocacy for children by highly-trained volunteers, CASA of New Hampshire has advocated for more than 10,000 children. At the heart of every one of those cases has been a judge with a life-altering decision to make. CASA of New Hampshire would not be where it is today without the support of judges all around the state who believe in the work our volunteers do and who continue to support our mission. CASA of New Hampshire’s Judge of the Year award is given annually to a judge whose outstanding contributions exemplify CASA’s mission to protect the best interest of the child and whose support helps to promote the success of the CASA/GAL volunteer program.
2020 Honoree: The Hon. Lucinda Sadler
Several years ago, I checked in with an advocate who attended her first solo court hearing earlier in the day to inquire how it went. She told me Judge Sadler had given her “wings.” Emboldened by Judge Sadler’s welcoming demeanor and attentive listening, the advocate was able to speak to the best interest of her CASA child confidently and with a freedom she did not quite expect in the courtroom. She went on to say that because Judge Sadler granted her the space and time to articulately represent the child’s circumstances, she was given a great gift of respect and value that has stayed with her. She said her “wings” now empower her to speak with purpose and continued confidence. I too had experienced this very effect as a program manager standing in for another advocate. Judge Sadler was the first judge to make me truly believe that my (CASA’s) voice was heard and mattered. I recall that as I stood to address the court, Judge Sadler stopped what she was doing and looked me straight in the eye indicating she was ready to hear from CASA and was fully focused. Judge Sadler is the kind of judge who elicits admiration easily. She listens. Everyone in her courtroom has an opportunity to be fully heard, including the children. Judge Sadler is fair. She gives credit where credit is due and is also not shy in telling it like it is. I have come to appreciate what an exceptional judge she is through the respect she exhibits to all, but in particular to the volunteer citizens who function as CASA/GALs in her court room. We will miss her tremendously upon her retirement.
-Jonelle Gaffney, Program Director