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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Ind. Courts - NW Ind. community discusses judicial system inequality

A long story this morning by Javonte Anderson of the Gary Post-Tribune - some quotes:

The Indiana Supreme Court's Commission on Race & Gender Fairness hosted the first of five forums statewide Monday in Gary to find potential solutions to the barriers that women and people of color encounter in the Indiana judicial system.

Residents, judges, lawyers and politicians, including an unexpected visit from Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, gathered to discuss inequality issues in the state's judicial system and potential ways to remedy said problems. * * *

Lake County Superior Court Judge Bruce Parent said the judicial system is fundamentally flawed. "The system was designed by old white men to protect what they had," he said.

Parent said the statistics are showing that there's more diversity among lawyers and judges, but that they still aren't representative of the population.

"Even if we look at it on a micro-level, I was the third white male in a row chosen to be a judge in Lake County," he said. "I'm happy I was selected but something's not right about that."

Sheila Moss, the first African-American female judge in Lake County, said over her 24 years on the bench she's seen a little progress in terms of more minority lawyers, but there's more work to do.

"It's more diverse now than it ever has been but the demographics of the county have changed, too, so we need to keep pace with that," she said. * * *

After hosting four other forums throughout the state, the commission will deliberate before presenting a formal written report to the Indiana Supreme Court, said Myra Selby, the commission's president and former Indiana Supreme Court judge. * * *

Gilbert King, a black attorney in Gary, said he's pleased that the Supreme Court is willing to hear ways to address the racial and gender disparities that exist, but he hopes that people "aren't here just talking to talk."

"I hope we implement some of these suggestions and not here just talking or we're here just wasting time."

ILB: Here is the membership of the Commission on Race and Gender Fairness and here is its directive.

Here is the schedule of community forums in five cities throughout Indiana. Evansville is next up, tonight, March 1.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 1, 2017 08:41 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts