On the heels of nationwide calls to address systemic racism and inequality, sitting judges shed light on the disparities that exist in the justice system and how to guard against bias in this series of Law360 guest articles. Jan. 24 Lack Of Data Deters Criminal Justice Reform
Many state courts' failure to gather basic data on sentencing and other important criminal justice metrics frustrates efforts to keep checks on judges' implicit biases and reduce racial disparities, say Justice Michael Donnelly at the Ohio Supreme Court and Judge Pierre Bergeron at the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.
Judges should take into consideration the several points of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion — from traffic stops to charging decisions and sentencing recommendations — that lead to race-based disparate treatment before a criminal defendant even reaches the courthouse, say Judge Juan Villaseñor and Laurel Quinto at Colorado's Eighth Judicial District Court.
To close the diversity gap between the judiciary and the litigants that regularly appear in criminal courts, institutions including police departments, prosecutor offices and defense law firms must be committed to advancing Black and Latino men, says New York Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards.
With unconscious biases deeply embedded in the court system, judges must take steps to guard against the power and influence of stereotypes during jury selection, evidence admissibility hearings, bail proceedings and other areas of judicial decision making, says Sixth Circuit Judge Bernice Donald.
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Portfolio Media Inc. or any of its respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
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