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Almost 70 percent of all NY judges are white

May 09, 2021 6:00 am

Joseph Gedeon is reporting for Gothamist a new statewide report on judicial demographics has revealed great disparities between the demographic composition of the bench and the rest of New York. In 2019, only 15 percent of the population statewide was black, yet black people accounted for 38 percent of all adult arrests, and nearly half of all people being sent to prison, according to the most recent data. And the majority of those doing the sentencing are white. According to the report, compiled by the chief administrator of the courts, 69 percent of judges who responded are white, while only 14 percent are black or African American. The Hon. Erika Edwards is one of the few black judges in the state of New York. “To me, the judiciary does not adequately reflect the communities in which it serves,” said Edwards who sits on the New York Supreme Court and also serves as president for the Judicial Friends Association, an organization founded by African American judges in New York. “It presents the lack of trust in the court system, lack of access, people don't feel comfortable sometimes using the courts...They just feel like maybe the deck is stacked against them,” she said. The report relies on the self-reported responses of judges in the New York State Unified Court System. Only 9 percent of judges who responded identified as Hispanic or Latino, while 3 percent are Asian. The report found only one Native American judge in the state, despite recent census estimates of 200,000 Indigenous Americans living in New York. That means that while people of color comprise nearly 40 percent of the state’s total population, they are only represented by 18 percent of its judges. The study is the first to come as a result of a new law, passed after George Floyd's murder, that requires New York to standardize the collection and publication of demographic information about the judiciary. Read the full story at gothamist [dot] com.