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April 23, 2021

April 23, 2021

Event Date


Call Danielle J. Marshall

2020 and 2019 Calogero Justice Award

The Calogero Justice Award is named in honor of Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. who was elected to the Louisiana Supreme court in 1972. Calogero was sworn in as Chief Justice in 1990 and served on the Court for 36 years. The LBF honors an individual or organization for a significant contribution to the Louisiana justice system.

2020 Calogero Justice Award recipient, Hon. William J. Knight

Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight began his legal career in 1976.  He graduated from LSU Law School where he was Order of the Coif and a member of the Louisiana Law Review.  He was an associate with Hudson, Potts, and Bernstein in Monroe, LA from 1976-1979. He then served as an Assistant District Attorney for Washington and St. Tammany Parishes from 1979-1985.  After that tenure, he opened a private law practice, handling both civil and criminal matters.  In January 2003, he took office as district judge of the 22nd Judicial District Court, Division J. Judge Knight has presided over juvenile and child in need of care proceedings and a section of adult Drug Court, in addition to his civil and criminal dockets.  Most recently, Judge Knight worked to establish the 22nd Judicial District Court’s ReEntry Court.  In November 2015, the Louisiana Supreme Court requested that Judge Knight create Key Components and Best Practices to be followed by Louisiana ReEntry Courts.  That work was presented to and adopted by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2016. 

2019 Calogero Justice Award recipient, Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson (Ret.), Louisiana Supreme Court

Honorable Bernette Joshua Johnson is the Louisiana Supreme Court’s 25th Chief Justice, its second female Chief Justice, and its first African American Chief Justice.

She is also one of the first two African American women to graduate from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Early in her career, while working as managing attorney at the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation (NOLAC), currently Southeastern Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), she became a change agent, social justice advocate, and civil rights promoter. She represented the socio-economically deprived; advanced the rights of children; and gave voice to the poor, elderly, and disenfranchised citizens of New Orleans.

Prior to that while in law school, Chief Justice Johnson worked with the United States Department of Justice assisting with cases pertaining to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1984 Chief Justice Johnson became the first woman elected to serve as a judge on the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish; in 1994, she was elected Chief Judge. Later that year she was elected to serve as an Associate Justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court, and was re-elected without opposition in 2000 and 2010. In 2013, with seniority in years of service, she became the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

She served on the National Campaign on Best Practices in the area of Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. She has championed many successful initiatives including the training and certification of the Limited English Proficiency Interpreters in the courts and the implementation of the electronic filing system for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Johnson is most proud of her family, which includes her son David Johnson, an accountant; her daughter, Judge Rachael Johnson, Civil District Court of Orleans Parish; her son-in-law, Telley Madina; and grandchildren, Neyah, Noah, Lacey, Byron, and Telley Jr.

The Louisiana Bar Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity organized under the state of Louisiana.