Race and Criminal Justice Task Force

The Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System is working to address racial disparity in Washington's criminal justice system. 

The first meeting of the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System took place on November 4, 2010, at Seattle University School of Law. The meeting was convened by the Honorable Steven C. Gonzalez, Chair of the Washington State Access to Justice Board and King County Superior Court judge, and by Robert S. Chang, Professor of Law and Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law.

Prompted by the remarks of two sitting justices on the Washington Supreme Court, the meeting was called to discuss racial bias in the criminal justice system in Washington state. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors, Washington State Access to Justice Board, the Washington State Commission on Gender and Justice, the Washington State Commission on Minority and Justice, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, Washington Women Lawyers, QLaw, the Asian Bar Association of Washington, the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington, the Korean American Bar Association, Filipino Lawyers of Washington, the Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington, the King County Prosecutor's Office, The Defender Association, faculty members from the three Washington law schools (Gonzaga University, Seattle University, and the University of Washington), and various community and advocacy organizations.

At the meeting, we articulated a set of goals and developed working groups to move the project forward. The first phase involves developing informational resources on racial bias in the criminal justice system. The second phase involves bringing into conversation all levels of the criminal justice system and to develop a set of recommendations to address racial bias at the systemic level. The third phase involves working to implement the recommendations. Throughout, we will develop educational projects to reach judges, the bar, law enforcement, students, and the public.

The Working Groups have convened and have begun their work.  Further information about the meetings can be found in Meeting Notes

In March 2011, we released our Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System and presented our findings to the Washington Supreme Court. Click here to view the presentation and its supporting documents.
The Research Working Group's Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System can be found here.

In March 2012, we released our report on Juvenile Justice and Racial Disproportionality and presented our findings to the Washington Supreme Court. Click here to view the presentation and its supporting documents. 

We are developing next steps. This is a multi-year project. Please return to this page for updates.

Working Groups

Much of the work of the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System will be done in smaller working groups. These have been reconfigured prior to the December 2 meeting and include the following:

Working Group 1: Oversight

This working group's tasks are to (1) provide oversight; (2) develop resources; (3) develop metrics to assess progress; (4) engage in strategic communication.

People:

     Robert Chang (Korematsu/SU Law)

     Darby DuComb (Seattle City Attorney's Office)

     Tracy Flood (Washington State Bar Association)

     Judge Nicole Gaines (Loren Miller Bar Association)

     Judge Steven González (ATJ Board) (chair)

     Jason Gillmer (GU Law)

     Paula Littlewood (Washington State Bar Association)

     Karen Murray (Associated Counsel for the Accused)

     Andy Sachs (QLaw)

     Chach Duarte White (Washington State Bar Association)

Working Group 2: Community Engagement

This working group's tasks are to (1)  engage in community outreach efforts to ensure that we are listening to and involving interested/affected communities; (2) bring together the interested parties involved in the criminal justice system; and (3) plan private dialogue and public events on race and the criminal justice system.

People:

     Lisa Apsay (Filipino Lawyers of Washington)

     Lieutenant Carmen Best (Seattle Police Department)

     Eric Holte (Defender Initiative, SU Law)

     The Honorable Don Horowitz

     Fé Lopez  (Latina/o Bar Association of Washington)

     Sandy Restropo (SU Law)

     Norma Rodriguez (Latina/o Bar Association of Washington)

     Andy Sachs (QLaw)

     Damon Shadid (Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington)

     Diana Singleton (Access to Justice Institute, SU Law)

     Raymond Swenson (Asian Bar Association of Washington)

     Jamila Taylor (Loren Miller Bar Association)

     Captain Ron Wilson (Seattle Police Department)

Working Group 3: Research

This working group's tasks are to develop informational resources and present findings on race and the criminal justice system.

People:

     Katherine Beckett (UW)

     Robert Chang (Korematsu Center)

     Julius Debro (UW)

     Taki Flevaris (Korematsu Center)

     Jason Gillmer (GU Law)

     Alexes Harris (UW)

     Carl McCurley (Washington State Center for Court Research)

     David Perez (Korematsu Center)

     Charles Reasons (CWU Law and Justice)

     Mary Whisner (UW Law Library)

     Stephanie Wilson (SU Law Library)

Working Group 4: Recommendations and Implementation

This working group's tasks are to develop recommendations and an implementation plan for structural reform targeted at institutional actors within the criminal justice system.

People:

     Judge Mary Yu (King County Superior Court) (co-chair)

     Lisa Daugaard (The Defender Association, Racial Disparity Project) (co-chair)

     Mark Larson (King County Prosecuting Attorney Office) (co-chair)

     Jim Bamberger (Office of Civil Legal Aid)

     Tracy Flood (Washington State Bar Association, Board of Governors)

     Nicole Gaines (Loren Miller Bar Association)

     Anita Khandelwal (The Defender Association, Racial Disparity Project)

      Dirk Marler (Administrative Office of the Courts)

     Monto Morton (Minority & Justice Commission)

     Lam Nguyen-Bull (Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington)

     Tisha Pagalilauan (Filipino Lawyers of Washington)

     Kathrine Price (SU Law)

     Travis Stearns (Washington Defender Association)

     Keith Talbot (Asian Bar Association of Washington)

     Chach Duarte White (Washington State Bar Association, Board of Governors)

Resources

Prior studies by the Minority and Justice Commission are available here.  Go to the Research Subcommittee Reports.

The Defender Association, Racial Disparity Project, commissioned a report by Dr. Katherine Beckett on the Seattle Police Department and drug arrests.  The executive summary is available here.  The full report is available here.

 

Working Group 5: Education

This working group's task is to develop educational programming for the following: (1) bench; (2) bar; (3) law enforcement; (4) public (5) law schools; (6) colleges; and (7) high schools are below.

People:

     Dean George Critchlow (GU Law) (co-chair)

     Dean Mark Niles (SU Law) (co-chair)

     Dean Kellye Testy (UW Law) (co-chair)

     Kris Costello (WWL)

     Abigail Daquiz (FLOW)

     Mary Fan (UW Law)

     Whitney Knox (SU Law)

     Larry Weiser (GU Law)


Please see the December 2 Meeting Agenda for detailed information about the working groups.  If you are interested in joining one of these working groups, please e-mail Korematsu Center Director Robert Chang at changro@seattleu.edu

Misc.

Meetings

Meeting 1.  November 4, 2010.

     Agenda

     Meeting Notes

Meeting 2.  December 2, 2010.

     Agenda

     Powerpoint

     Meeting Notes

Meeting 3.  January 20, 2011.

     Agenda

     Meeting Notes

Meeting 4.  February 17, 2011.

     Agenda

     Meeting Notes

Meeting 5.  May 19, 2011.

     Agenda

     Meeting Notes

 

Participating Organizations and Institutions

     Administrative Office of the Courts

     American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

     The Asian Bar Association of Washington

     Central Washington University, Department of Law and Justice

     The Defender Association/Racial Disparity Project

     Filipino Lawyers of Washington

     Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, SU Law

     Gonzaga University School of Law

     The Korean American Bar Association of Washington

     Latina/o Bar Association of Washington

     Loren Miller Bar Association

     Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington

     Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle

     QLaw: The GLBT Bar Association of Washington

     Seattle City Attorney's Office

     Seattle University School of Law

     University of Washington, College of Arts and Sciences

     University of Washington School of Law

     Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington

     Washington Defender Association

     Washington State Access to Justice Board

     Washington State Bar Association

     Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

     Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs

     Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

     Washington State Gender and Justice Commission

     Washington State Minority and Justice Commission

     Washington Women Lawyers

 

Activities

Juvenile Justice System

On March 28, 2012, the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System made its second presentation to the Washington Supreme Court. Led by Judge Mary Yu and UW Law School Dean Kellye Testy, the Juvenile Justice Working Group presented its finding through a report (English version - Spanish version) and the presentation which may be viewed below.

Attending were representatives from the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors, the Washington State Access to Justice Board, the Minority and Justice and Gender and Justice Commissions, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, The Defender Association, the state's specialty bar associations, the state's three law schools, and many other organizations, as well as many judges and other leaders from Washington's legal community.

Below the screen on each part, you will find links to the powerpoints used by certain presenters.

 Presentation Part I (courtesy TVW)

 Dr. Carl McCurley's Presentation Slides

 Dr. Michael Pullman's Presentation Slides

Presentation Part II (courtesy TVW)

 T.J. Bohl's Presentation Slides

Adult Criminal Justice System

On March 2, 2011, we met with the Washington Supreme Court at the Temple of Justice in Olympia Washington. Attending were representatives from the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors, the Washington State Access to Justice Board, the Minority and Justice and Gender and Justice Commissions, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, The Defender Association, the state's specialty bar associations, the state's three law schools, various law enforcement agencies, and many other organizations, as well as many judges and other leaders from Washington's legal community.

The March 2 event included presentations from the Research Working Group and the Recommendations/Implementation Working Group.

0:00 Chief Justice Madsen
2:30 Tracy Flood
6:37 Judge Gonzalez
19:18 Prof. Gillmer
30:00 Prof. Harris
41:35 Prof. Beckett
59:30 Prof. Chang
1:20:00 Judge Yu
1:32:00 Justice Madsen, Nicole Gaines
1:40:00 Sheriff Rahr, Discussion

You may skip to different points in the webcast by moving your cursor over the video image and clicking on the timeline. We thank TVW for their permission to use the webcast.

Presentation Notes, Slides, and Report. Jason Gillmer's notes can be found here; Alexes Harris and Katherine Beckett's slides can be found here; and Robert Chang's slides can be found here. The Research Working Group's Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System can be found here. The Recommendations/Implementation Working Group's presentation slides can be found here.

The Seattle Times ran a brief article about the event.

Preliminary Research Reports

The Research Working Group has released its Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System.

We also produced brief preliminary reports on discrete topics drawing primarily from Washington-specific studies and reports.  Click on the topic to view each report.

     1.      Juvenile Justice

     2.      Legal Financial Obligations (LFO)

     3.      Pretrial Release

     4.      Drug Enforcement

     5.      Asset Forfeiture

     6.      Traffic Stops

     7.      Driving While License Suspended (DWLS)

     8.      Implicit Bias

The University of Washington Law Library has created a resource for finding many of the Washington-specific studies and reports: Reference Resource

 

Students in the School of Law Annex