National Teachers Law School
In addition to his duties as a circuit judge for Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit Court, Judge John Bowman shares his legal expertise with related professional organizations. Judge John Bowman has spoken to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), whose mission is to uphold the constitutional right to a trial by a civil jury.
In September 2016, ABOTA’s educational component, the ABOTA Foundation, sponsored the first-ever National Teachers Law School, an event intended to promote in-depth civics education. Held in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center, the two-day event gathered judges, lawyers, historians, and educators to discuss a variety of issues.
Topics included dealing with civic engagement after a tragedy, the jury trial as the final guardian of rights, and helping students make sense of the Constitution. Additionally, participants learned about legal issues that affect school-age children, such as social media in relation to the First Amendment.
Public officials stressed the necessity of knowing how the American governmental system worked. They noted that many students received little or no instruction in civics. One judge argued the nation has forgotten the importance of students’ learning their role as citizens possessing rights.
Juvenile Assessment Center
Circuit Judge John Bowman presides over civil trial courts in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, area. Throughout his career, Judge John Bowman has contributed greatly to the juvenile justice system in Broward County. He has been active with the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the juvenile detention system.
When a young person in Broward County is taken into police custody, he or she is taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). The central intake facility works to ensure that youth receive whatever services they need to be safe and cared for while also protecting the community.
The Juvenile Assessment Team (JAT) helps assess young people to make sure that individuals who need mental health care or help with substance abuse receive those services. JAT can also provide services to young people referred from other parts of the justice system, such as juvenile probation or the Intervention Program.
These programs help prevent juvenile arrests by directing young people toward the behavioral or mental health services that can help them succeed.
Guardian ad Litem
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Florida Atlantic University, Judge John Bowman went on to receive his JD from St. Thomas University, and in 2002, he was elected to the position of circuit civil judge in Ft. Lauderdale. As an active public servant, Judge John Bowman received the Community Advocate of the Year award in 2007 from the Florida Guardian ad Litem program (GAL), an organization whose mission is to give a voice to children.
GAL volunteers must undergo training to learn how to advocate effectively for children who have been taken away from their families due to abuse or neglect. Volunteer advocates may be attorneys, welfare professionals, or community members, and their job is to advocate in court for children who are often scared and too young to navigate the legal system alone.
GAL provides volunteers with a variety of training and resource opportunities. Topics and certifications include promoting normalcy for foster youth, child welfare and human trafficking, transitioning foster youth to permanency, and navigating Medicaid, as well as other information relevant to children in foster care. Training may be done via instructional videos, state and local conferences, and online learning modules to equip volunteers for the role of court advocate.
Judge John Bowman was elected to the Florida Circuit Court in 2002. Beyond the courtroom, Judge John Bowman is the president for 2014-2015 for the Stephen R. Booher chapter of the American Inns of Court (AIC).
AIC was established in 1980; the organization has since grown to nearly 400 chapters throughout the United States. Currently, the AIC has some 30,000 active members, consisting of judges, lawyers, teachers, and students, and about 100,000 alumni members. The AIC’s mission is to foster adherence to high standards of ethics, professionalism, and civility.
A vital part of the AIC is its mentoring program. Longtime members guide and support newer members; the process not only enables the acquisition of important professional skills but also builds a framework for collegial relationships.
To aid these efforts, the AIC uses a model mentoring program developed by the University of South Carolina School of Law. The model emphasizes setting up a simply administered structure that enables chapters to implement efficient methods of communication and scheduling.