INDIANA – A 21-member Commission on Equity and Access in the Court System will have its first meeting in October. Established by Supreme Court order, the Commission membership represents all three branches of government and includes educators, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other professionals.
The Commission aims to improve access to justice and public trust and confidence in the court system. Justice stakeholders have already collaborated to reform pretrial and bail practices, create pathways to the legal profession for underrepresented college graduates, and utilize problem-solving courts. Chief Justice Loretta Rush, in establishing the Commission, wants to build on those successes. “There is still much to achieve to ensure every Hoosier knows justice is within reach for them. Our state court system can and must do better.”
In July 2021, the Supreme Court hired a Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Gina Forrest. Forrest will provide support to the Commission, which will be chaired by Justice Steven David and include Vice-Chairs Deborah Daniels and Norris Cunningham.
The Commission will provide a comprehensive review of Indiana’s state court systems, policies, and practices; identify strengths and improvement areas for achieving more equal access to justice; and establish workgroups to provide recommendations addressing issues within the legal system. The Commission can request pilot projects to address immediate critical issues and will submit a written report with findings and recommendations to the Court by December 31, 2022.
For more information on the Commission, visit courts.in.gov/admin/diversity/equity-access/, and for more information on the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, visit courts.in.gov/admin/diversity/.