Where are the Latino trial judges?

Much attention has been paid to the lack of minority representation on local councils, boards, and police departments. But a new CalMatters analysis highlights another public sector where professionals of color are in short supply: the judicial bench.

While the state’s higher courts have grown more diverse in recent years, the trial courts are still overwhelmingly white.

Latino representation among judges is worse than any other racial or ethnic group. Latinos make up 39% of California’s population, but just 11% of judges and justices, according to CalMatters.

In the superior courtrooms of four counties — Colusa, Kings, Madera, and Merced — there isn’t a single Latino justice. And those counties are all majority Latino, with Hispanic populations of 55.3% (Kings) to 61% (Merced).

The experts CalMatters spoke to called the lack of Latino representation in the judicial system “alarming.” Diversity in the courts not only impacts the delineation of justice, but also increases the public’s trust in the legal system overall.


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