The recent killings of unarmed African Americans have shocked the conscience of our nation and led to feelings of anger, frustration, and hopelessness.
These are painful times for our country that continue a painful history of injustice for African Americans. We must answer the challenge of ensuring that all men and women, especially people of color, are offered the same opportunity and treatment by the court system.
Justice and fairness lie at the heart of our legal system. And those standards must apply equally to all. Wherever it exists in the criminal justice system, we must identify and root out bias in all forms. The courts must be a place where court users, attorneys, and court employees can all expect to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect, regardless of their race or background.
The impact of racial injustice touches all of American society. In New Jersey, we have tried to confront systemic racism and other forms of bias in our courts.
Through Criminal Justice Reform and juvenile justice initiatives, we have made significant strides in reducing the jail and juvenile detention populations, especially for people of color. We have begun to reform the Municipal Court system by safeguarding the fundamental principles of equal access and treatment for all. Through legal rulings, we have changed the way courts evaluate eyewitness identification evidence in trials, including cross-racial identifications.
Those are laudable efforts, but there is more work to be done.
Click here to read the full news release from the New Jersey Courts.