The issue of racial disparities in the courts
In Arizona and other states, concerns exist about racial disparities that exist in the courtroom. Some feel that fairness becomes compromised when a person’s race affects his or her outcome. Therefore, activists are attempting to raise awareness about the problem.
Two nationwide studies revealed that 95% of elected prosecutors are white, a percentage that reflects a significant disparity. In the United States, African Americans represent 13% of the population. Also, 39% of the population are people of color.
The studies also revealed disparities with state trial judges. In 2016, only 20% of state trial judges nationwide were people of color. In 16 states, the number is less than 10%. Such disparities bring forth questions about legitimacy.
A professor noted that legitimacy becomes questioned because the courts fail to reflect the communities they are supposed to serve. Many people wonder why these discrepancies exist. Some suggest the selection method is flawed. Others point out that people of color are underrepresented in the attorney profession.
Concerns over racism in the criminal justice system further drive academics, attorneys and others to raise awareness about racial disparities. The courts must treat everyone fairly and equally, but racial discrimination may undermine equitable treatment under the law.
Anyone with questions about criminal law could consult an attorney who handles defense cases. A lawyer might also represent someone facing charges in criminal court. An attorney could take steps to increase the chances a defendant receives fair treatment when navigating the justice system.
A criminal defense attorney could raise questions about the probable cause of the arrest and the validity of the evidence presented. An attorney might request a dismissal if a client’s rights were violated.