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Letter of Recommendation for The Honorable Sean Staples

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July 21, 2015

Ms. Katherine L. Garrett
Executive Director, Judicial Nomination Commission
515 5th Street NW, Suite 235
Washington, DC 20001

RE: Letter of Recommendation for The Honorable Sean Staples, Candidate, Associate Judge, DC Superior Court

Dear Ms. Garrett and Members of the Commission:

Washington Council of Lawyers (“WCL”) writes to express its strong support for The Honorable Sean Staples for the position of Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In his two years as a sitting magistrate judge, Judge Staples has proved himself to be a sound jurist—respectful, patient, fair-minded and conscientious. His calm and measured demeanor is particularly well-suited for the District’s high-volume courts. Moreover, his extensive background in bringing justice to poor and marginalized communities will continue to allow him to bring a unique and much-needed perspective to the bench, as well as a deep understanding of the practice of law in the District’s courts.

WCL is a voluntary bar association located in the District of Columbia. Our mission is to promote the practice of pro bono and public interest law in the District, and our membership includes lawyers, legal professionals, law students, and others committed to advancing issues important to the public interest community. WCL offers its support for a judicial candidate such as Judge Staples when that candidate has a long personal history of advocacy on behalf of the underserved and in promotion of equal access to justice.

Judge Staples embodies the mission of the Washington Council of Lawyers, having devoted his entire legal career to working towards access to justice for the District’s citizens. Notably, Judge Staples’ career uniquely reflects the range of issues heard at the DC Superior Court. In the 17 years preceding his appointment to the bench, Judge Staples represented hundreds of clients in criminal, juvenile, and family court matters at both the trial and appellate levels. Judge Staples also personifies another of WCL’s core values, that of building and sustaining a rich and highly qualified legal community. Through his membership in the legal services, academic, and private solo practice communities, Judge Staples has a special appreciation of the diversity of lawyers appearing in the DC Superior Court. For three years, Judge Staples served on the steering committee of the Courts, Lawyers, and Administration of Justice committee of the DC Bar, as well as the Board of Directors of DC Law Students in Court.

Both in practice and now on the bench, Judge Staples has committed himself to maintaining the highest level of representation for litigants in the DC Superior Court. Judge Staples has taught litigation skills and courtroom practice to scores of law students and practicing attorneys, and currently co-chairs the training committee of the Family Court. He continues this practice in his courtroom, demanding the highest level of competence, professionalism, and zeal of the attorneys who appear before him.

Judge Staples’ current docket of abuse and neglect matters demands superior judicial temperament. He has demonstrated a deep understanding of the law and the obligations of the government around the fundamental rights of parents to raise their children, a keen appreciation of the magnitude of the decisions left to the court’s discretion, and the patience and empathy to see beyond the courtroom and understand the greater context of some of the District’s most needy and vulnerable children and families. In this most challenging of roles, Judge Staples has proved himself to be a distinguished jurist.

The Washington Council of Lawyers know Judge Staples to be a skilled trial lawyer, leader of the Bar, and now jurist. His experience in the areas of family and criminal law, combined with his broad-based talents as both a litigator and a judge, position him well for service as an Associate Judge of the DC Superior Court. We support Judge Staples’ application without reservation.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul S. Lee

The Honorable Emmett G. Sullivan
Ronald Flagg, Esq.
William Lucy
Natalie O. Ludaway, Esq.
Woody N. Peterson, Esq.
Rev. Morris L. Shearin, Sr.
Grace E. Speights, Esq.

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