The Missouri Supreme Court has established a Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. The panel will focus its study on six areas – the judicial system generally; the civil justice system; the criminal justice system; the juvenile justice system; the municipal justice system; and the practice of law – to identify solutions and make recommendations for improvement.
Court Spokesperson Beth Riggert said the panel has been in development for a while.
“There’s a number of other states that are focusing on various aspects of trying to ensure racial and ethnic fairness in the legal system. The court believed that this was a good time to really bring a large, diverse group of people together,” said Riggert. “I think the court hopes that the unique background that each of them brings will really help add to the wealth of the work of the Commission.”
In a press release from the Missouri Supreme Court, Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge said “We all need to do everything we can to ensure that every individual in every case in our system of justice is treated with respect and has his or her case adjudicated fairly and impartially according to the law. Until that is true in 100% of our courts, we cannot rest. Even a perception of justice denied anywhere should concern us all, no matter who or where we are.”
The panel includes more than 50 Missouri attorneys and judges.