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Upcoming Events

National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts 2023 Conference and Annual Meeting
May 21-24
Seattle, WA

News about diversity and racial justice in the state courts

Justice Dept. presses local courts to reduce fines

The New York Times,  April 20, 2023

The Justice Department has informed local judges and juvenile courts that imposing fines and fees without accounting for a person's financial status violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht says he has long pushed to eliminate the fee system in his state, adding that it penalizes poverty and hurts the state by pushing marginal offenders onto the fringes of society and deeper into the criminal justice system.

Judicial Roundtable Promoting Equity and Fairness Within the Court System

State of Nebraska Judicial Branch, February 13, 2023

Justices, judges, system administrators, probation, and parole from across the upper-Midwest gathered in Omaha to discuss the Blueprint for Racial Justice.  During Nebraska's Judicial roundtable, presentations were made on improving racial equality by intensifying efforts to ensure all court users, litigants, and community members are heard and respected by the nation's justice system.

North Carolina task force releases 2022 report on racial equity in criminal justice

The Center Square , December 30, 2022

The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice has issued an update on progress toward implementing a series of 125 recommendations.  Violence interruption programs, emergency response reform,  and sample policies and informational guides were among the updates included in the report.

DEI Professionals Grow Network, Learning Opportunities at Convening

National Center for State Courts, November 30, 2022

“Creating a Culture of Belonging” was the focus for nearly 50 court diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals who gathered in Atlanta last month for an inaugural DEI convening.

Kaelea Shaner Hired as Delaware Judiciary's First Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer

Delaware Judiciary, October 10, 2022

Kaelea Shaner has been hired as the Delaware Judiciary's first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, completing one of the key recommendations from the Delaware Supreme Court's 2022 Strategic Plan on improving diversity in the Delaware Bench and Bar.

Vermont Judiciary Establishes Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Vermont Judiciary, September 16, 2022

Vermont's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will work to identify disparities in the justice system, understand the causes, evaluate solutions, and implement change.

Helping Courts Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Judicature, Summer  2022

As the challenges of adjusting to the COVID pandemic ease within state courts, persistent concerns regarding the fairness and equity of these same courts remain. Efforts to address these longer-term issues often have focused on judicial decision-making and legal issues.  Many states have recently moved to hire local or state-level staff dedicated to improving DEI in the courts through newly developed policies and practices.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Action: Analysis Examines Vermont's Racial Equity in Sentencing Outcomes

The Council of State Governments,  June 23, 2022

A recent racial equity in sentencing analysis found that Black people in Vermont are six times more likely than White people to be represented in the sentenced incarcerated population.

'We're not colorblind': Two years after George Floyd, WA Supreme Court tries to chart a different path on race

Seattle Times, June 12, 2022

In the two years since reaffirming its commitment to achieving justice by ending racism, the Washington Supreme Court has made "large and small, symbolic and concrete" efforts to move toward a more just legal system.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

National Conference of State Legislatures, May 24, 2022

Throughout the nation, people of color are far more likely to enter the nation's justice system than the general population. This article highlights data, reports, state laws, innovations, commissions, approaches and other resources addressing racial and ethnic disparities within our country's justice systems.

New study to engage underserved communities, explore post-pandemic access to justice

National Center for State Courts, May 18, 2022

Through grant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NCSC will work directly with community members and stakeholders to identify legal issues that low-income people of color face and how systemic and intersectional disadvantages impact people in their communities following the pandemic.

Justice Lisa Holder White to be first Black woman on Illinois Supreme Court 

Chicago Sun Times, May 10, 2022

Appellate Justice Lisa Holder will become the first Black woman to serve on the state's highest court, succeeding Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman, who is retiring in July. Justice Holder White was also the first Black judge in both the 6th Judicial Circuit and 4th District Court of Appeals.

State Supreme Courts Are (Slowly) Starting to Look More Like America

Pew Stateline, May 2, 2022

Two months after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis in May 2020, as protests erupted around the country, the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators adopted a resolution that said structural racism disproportionately affects people of color and erodes public confidence in the fairness of the judicial system.

The resolution led to a 150-member working group of lawyers, judges and officials from legal organizations that is providing guidance for courts, called a Blueprint for Racial Justice.