“AB 2095 provides us with the opportunity to achieve the goal of transparency as it applies to the selection process of judges in the state of California,” Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) said Tuesday.
The current judicial appointments process uses anonymous individuals on local committees from various regions, who vet judicial aspirants prior to submitting the applications to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE).
“Given our challenge from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding egregious disparity in California’s sentencing laws, it is imperative to consider diverse backgrounds when determining who should judge accused citizens. With the anonymity utilized in the current system, it is impossible to determine the diversity of these local committees who assist in the judgeship selection process,” Assemblyman Davis said.
Davis noted that there are 27 states in the United States that require that the names of the judicial nomination-recommendation commissions be made public.
California is a majority-minority state, yet the current majority of California’s judges are Caucasian, while the prison population consists of an inordinate amount ethnic minorities. Approximately, 29 percent of African American males make up the state prison population and approximately, 37 are Latino males.
“I believe that there is a direct relationship between the diversity in the judiciary and criminal justice reform… I believe will make a difference in addressing these disparities in sentencing,” Davis continued.