Many residents in Texas as well as other parts of the country are critical of the treatment that Black citizens receive at the hands of the police. Some activists say that the lack of representation for people of color among prosecutors and trial judges may play more of a role in the unequal administration of justice in America.
Nearly 40% of Americans are people of color, and 13% of American citizens identify as Black. However, 95% of elected prosecutors in 2015 were white. The percentages were not much better among state trial judges as more than 80% of these legal professionals were white. In a group of 16 states with the least representation for people of color, 9 out of 10 trial judges were white. Legal activists say that this racial disparity can mean trouble for a Black defendant preparing a criminal defense.
The executive director of the organization Prosecutor Impact points to problems with the selection method to explain why so few people of color sit at the prosecutors’ table or don a judge’s robe. However, other activists say the problem starts long before it is time to promote from within the legal profession. Only 5% of practicing lawyers were Black in 2019, and another 5% of the attorneys that year identified themselves as Hispanic while 85% of the lawyers licensed to practice in 2019 were white.
It is always a challenge for individuals tasked with addressing criminal allegations in a court of law, but many activists feel that some people face a stiffer challenge when battling the justice system than others. In any event, an individual facing criminal charges may be able to secure a better outcome for themselves by consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.