Professor David Logan talks about why Rhode Island's justice system ought to better reflect the people subjected to it -- and why it hasn't done so to date.
From GoLocalProv: “Rhode Island Courts Could Soon Have Only One Minority Judge” by Kate Nagle
December 08, 2016: Could Rhode Island — a state whose population is more than 25% minority — soon have just one judge of color on the state’s roster of 85 judges and magistrates? [See RWU Law Magazine coverage of this question.]
“I think you start off with the recognition that the justice system ought to reflect the people subjected to it,” said Roger Williams University Professor of Law David Logan, who served as the Dean of RWU Law from 2003 to 2014. “We talk about that a lot with police, and I know that [Rhode Island Attorney General Peter] Kilmartin is aware of the lack of diversity among prosecutors, but the other slice of that problem is the people that execute the judicial power.”
“I think to be fair there's a pipeline issue -- the reality is the percentage of minority lawyers is fairly small, and mid-career — who would be candidates for judicial appointments — is always small,” said Logan. “We're doing the best we can to diversify the bench and bar. It’s only in the last five to six years we've had a substantial number of minority candidates.”
“Governor Raimondo convened a group last spring to talk about this. I’m not aware if anything moved forward on that front - but there was discussions about having more diverse candidates apply and be successful,” said Logan. “Unfortunately, the Governor hasn't had many judicial appointments, and hasn't made it a focal point of her administration, but hopefully she can take some leadership on the issue.”
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