Criminal Law

Crim. Law Journal Spring/Summer 2020, Vol. 20, Issue 2

STATEMENT OF THE CALIFORNIA LAWYERS ASSOCIATION CRIMINAL LAW SECTION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Criminal Law Section Executive Committee is keenly aware of this pivotal moment in the history of our nation and realizes that systemic change, reconciliation, and racial healing is needed to form a more perfect union.

We offer our sincere condolences to the family of George Floyd. But more than sincere condolences is needed to prevent further deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Thus, we join the many diverse and powerful voices across our nation in demanding police reform and officer and departmental accountability. It is long past time to change our laws to eradicate the systemic cancer of racial discrimination.

As prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges, we have observed institutional racism and systemic inequality up close. Our Committee is comprised of people of all ethnicities, and our status as attorneys or judicial officers has not shielded us from experiencing racism and discrimination ourselves. Our members have been pretextually stopped by police. Our members have been questioned about their qualifications when entering courthouses. Our members have been told to "go back to your country." Our members’ relatives have been victims of both police harassment and violence. The common denominator in each of these incidents was black or brown skin.

We know these issues have plagued our country for centuries, but with the proliferation of body cameras, cell phones, and the 24-hour news cycle, the nation is finally seeing it in real-time. The world is appalled, and so are we.

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