Activists say racial disparity among prosecutors and judges undermines courts’ legitimacy

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2020 | Criminal Law

There is a lack of Black and brown representation in the nation’s courts. Studies have shown that 95 percent of United States prosecutors are white. The racial disparity among prosecutors results in negative outcomes for people of color in Indiana and across the nation.

While much attention is being paid to the victimization of Black people by police, less attention is focused on the other two branches of the criminal court system, trial judges and prosecutors. Trial judges are supposed to act as a check to ensure against police and prosecutors’ excesses and oversee fair trials.

However, two recent studies have revealed stark disparities between trial judges and prosecutors and the communities they serve. In the United States, 39 percent of the population are people of color and a little over 13 percent is Black. However, in 2015 95 percent of prosecutors were white. As of 2016, less than two out of ten state trial judges were people of color and in 16 states, less than one state judge in ten was a person of color.

This lack of representation and racial disparity in prosecutors’ offices and on the bench has an effect on who is charged and sent to jail, according to a criminal justice organizer. It is important to change the demographics of the people who sit in prosecutors’ offices and on state benches. However, this is just part of the work that must be done to overhaul an unjust system. According to the W. Haywood Burns Institute chief of strategy and implementation.

A person of color who is facing criminal charges may be concerned about racial disparity and unfair treatment from the Indiana court system. It may help to discuss a pending criminal matter with an attorney who has experience in the Indiana courts. A criminal law attorney may help individuals protect their rights and ensure a fair trial process.