A Question of Ethics

Courts, Testing, and Vaccinations

What Will Your Court Decide?

A Video Conversation on Courts and Ethics

The coronavirus has hamstrung our nation’s courts since March 2020.  2021 offers hope that we may soon return to our normal lives, but it also presents new challenges.  No matter how quickly the vaccines are distributed, it appears that courts will have to keep restrictions for several more months. 

In this video Question of Ethics edition, a panel of court administrators from around the country discuss ethics, COVID, employee testing, and vaccinations.  The panel addresses questions including:

  • How will courts deal with the continuing restrictions?
  • What is our ethical duty to our employees and to the public while the pandemic still rages?
  • How do we manage our employees who are vaccinated; how do we manage if some choose not to be vaccinated?
  • What advice does the panel have for court administrators around the country?

Additional reference articles on this important matter follow:

New Mexico County Officials Face Lawsuit for Requiring Employees to Get COVID Vaccine

Cornell University Mandates COVID-19 Vaccines for Students and Staff


Alyce Roberts is the special projects coordinator for the Alaska Court System.  She was the AOC’s primary liaison with the clerks of court.  In this capacity, she was responsible for developing the annual statewide clerks-of-court conference program, facilitating sessions, and serving as a presenter. Roberts regularly worked with court colleagues and justice partners to propose revisions to court rules and develop statewide clerical procedures.  She served on the Supreme Court’s Civil Rules Advisory Committee.  She has served on NACM’s Board of Directors and is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management. 

Peter C. Kiefer has over 40 years of experience working with trial courts in Oregon, Arizona, and California.  He has consulted with the judicial systems in Liberia, Moldova, and Beirut, Lebanon, as well as being a member of a NACM delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China. He received his bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University and MPA from the University of Southern California, and is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.  In 2015 he was given the NACM Award of Merit.  He currently hosts NACM’s Court Leader’s Advantage Podcast.

The Panel Includes:

Courtney Whiteside is passionately dedicated to providing Missouri citizens with a fair and unbiased judiciary through education and collaboration with the other branches of government, the community, and national partners and providing judicial staff with the tools to be successful in this fast-paced environment. She started her career as a court clerk in St. Charles, and then worked with the Office of State Courts Administrator and the Missouri Supreme Court to serve as the state’s municipal division courts monitor. She is currently the Director of the St. Louis County Municipal Division.

Debbie Spradley is the trial court administrator for the Fifth Judicial District in Clackamas County, Oregon. She attended California State University, San Marcos where she received her bachelor’s degree. Spradley joined the Clackamas County Circuit Court in 2004 as a supervisor in the Civil Case Unit, transitioned to court manager in 2005, and became the trial court administrator in 2011. She worked at the San Diego Superior Court in California for fourteen years before joining the Clackamas County Circuit Court.  

Sam Hamrick has been the court executive officer for the Superior Court of California for the County of Riverside since 2014. He was previously the clerk of court for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego). Before that he held positions as the chief deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta); chief deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, (Wheeling); administrative analyst/deputy clerk of court for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina; and law clerk to Chief Federal Court Judge Richard L. Voorhees. Hamrick received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina; an MPA from Western Carolina University; and a JD from Campbell University School of Law

Terri March is the court administrator for the North Las Vegas Justice Court in Clark County, Nevada.  She has been with NLVJC since 2004.  She received her bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Before joining the court, she spent 17 years in the hotel/casino industry in Las Vegas. March worked as a budget analyst with Clark County, Nevada, and obtained an MPA during that time.  After joining the courts, she furthered her education by completing the National Center for State Courts’ Court Management Program and becoming a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management after completion of the Court Executive Development Program.  In March 2018, she completed a Master of Arts in Security Studies through the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.