Judges and magistrates of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia (NATJL) are to go to the polls on Saturday, February 1, to elect a new corps of officers to replace the Resident Judge of Criminal Court ‘A’ in Monrovia, Cllr. Roosevelt Willie, who has served the association as president for a period of four years.
Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, chief Judge of the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice and Judge Nancy Sammy, resident judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Lofa County, currently assigned judge at Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, are the top two contenders for the helm of the association.
The judges and magistrates will elect their officers at the close of their three-day Convention that began on Thursday, January 30 up to February 1.
Judge Morgan served as vice president from 2011 to 2013, while, her rival, Judge Sammy is the current vice president and has served that post for two consecutive terms that include 2018 to 2019 and 2015 to 2016.
Other contested posts are Vice president, General Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, and Chaplain.
In a brief interview with journalists, Judge Morgan said she is campaigning on “Hard work, service and transformational leadership.”
Concerning their past experiences, Judge Morgan served as a Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety. While serving in that position, she worked on several high profile prosecution cases, along with the Rule of Law initiative and issues surrounding adoption.
Judge Morgan is an assistant professor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, the University of Liberia.
She holds a B.A. from the University of Liberia and LL.B from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, and LL.M, from Harvard University, USA. Before her appointment as Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Morgan served as Judge of the Tax Court, where she was successful to have contributed to the revenue generation of the country by collecting over US$1 million from businesses that were in the practice of defrauding the government of its needed taxes.
Judge Sammy, in early 2013, served as Labour Manager for the Firestone Plantation Company in Margibi County up to her appointment in 2013 as Resident Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Lofa County, a position she occupied prior to her assignment as the Judge of the Criminal Court ‘C” at the Temple of Justice.
Sammy is a graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.
The history regarding the formation of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia is very scanty. One version states that prior to 1980, there existed a body that ran the affairs of Judges within the Judiciary, but there are no records of leadership and activities. The body, however, became dormant from 1980 up to and including some part of the war years, before former Probate Court Judge, Frances Johnson Morris, and Civil Law Court Judge, M. Wilkins Wright led the organization.
Notwithstanding, their interventions to revive the body became inactive again for a few years before Judge William B. Metzger re-organized the Judges and led them until 2003 when Judge J. Boima Kontoe was requested by the members to serve as Interim President with the responsibility to draw-up a Constitution. Judge Kontoe faithfully executed the mandate and the Constitution named and styled the Organization, “National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia.”