William E. Davis
Bill was born in Kentucky and spent his childhood in Hazard, Kentucky where his father was a coal miner. He is the first in nine generations to not be a miner. He went to college and law school in Lexington.He was the second person in the State of Kentucky to join the Peace Corps in the early 1960’s. He was assigned to Chile where he worked with Mapuche Indians communities on reforestation projects and development of cooperatives.. He was volunteer fireman of the year in Lautaro, Chile in 1966.
He married Connee, also a former Chile volunteer, in the summer of 1968 and they returned to Chile in 1968 as Peace Corps staff, first serving as regional representative and subsequently as Acting Deputy Director and Program Officer. Their first daughter, Marya, was born in Valdivia Chile. During this period of service Peace Corps was managing the transplanting of 4-6 million salmon eggs from the U.S. to Chile which led to the creation of a major salmon producing industry.
In the early 1970’s Bill worked at the California Judicial Council on the first major study of language needs of non- English speaking people in California. The results of the study led to the adoption of court interpreter legislation. He testified in Congress where Congressman Don Edwards of California used the results of the same study to promote and successfully pass federal legislation on the same topic.
For the next 20 years Bill held high level positions in state and federal judiciary, Administrative Director of Courts in California and Kentucky and Circuit Executive for the Ninth Circuit in based in California. The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit recognized him as “innovative force in the federal courts system and for its improvements in the administration of justice”. The Judges and all court personnel of the Ninth Circuit “recognize him for his integrity, professionalism and gracious manner”. In Kentucky he led the largest reform in the history of the state government by replacing over 1000 judges and clerks with a state funded judiciary, creating judicial disciplinary procedures, greater transparency and efficiencies through the introduction of tape recording and ultimately video recording of court proceedings. He directed the first state wide adoption of legislation eliminating commercial bail bonding and replacing it with mandatory pre-trial procedures. Effort was cited by Council of State Government as one of the most significant developments in state governments in 1976. He launched the Race and Ethnic Bias Study Commission for the California Courts in 1991.
He formed a consulting firm with a friend, DPK Consulting, to focus on globally promoting the rule of law. Working in over 50 countries he focused on creating greater access to justice for poorly served populations first, by aiding the development of dispute resolution programs at the community and municipal levels and subsequently in the commercial sector in Chambers of Commerce in Latin America. He directed a justice reform effort in Palestinian Territories to strengthen the justice system. The United Nations recognized the advancements made and characterized the system as being equal to or better than any other justice system in the region. In Jordan, he developed a system to appoint judges by merit and without regard to ethnicity or gender leading to a dramatic increase in the number of women judges being appointed and likewise a significant increase in the appointment of judges of Palestinian descent. His firm consistently achieved highest evaluations for performance by USAID (4.5 on a scale of 1-5)
He served for 10 years as a mediator and member of the Advisory Board with the Office of Ombudsman of the International Finance Corporation of The World Bank mediating conflicts in Latin America and Trans Caucus pipeline in Georgia. He led effort to create a new approach to facing corruption by adopting the “integrity model” now being implemented in three countries. His model of administration of justice in Dominican Republic won an award from O Globo, Brazil’s largest newspaper.
He served for 24 years on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai’s. He worked on the Models of Unity effort to identify pathways to racial harmony from existing cross racial experiences.
He was admitted to the University of Kentucky’s College of Law Hall of Fame. He received the Henry H. Heyburn Public Service Award from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He received a Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary service from Transylvania University.
He has been married for to Connee for 48 years. They have two daughters, Marya and Hillary. Marya is married to Martin Brohm, and they have a daughter, Ella. Hillary is married to Oscar Cheuquian, and they have two sons, Nicholas and William.
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