California Chief Justice Appoints New Work Group to Address Bias in Court Proceedings
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on Wednesday announced a new work group to update a judicial standard that outlines steps courts can take to prohibit bias in courtroom proceedings.
Standard of Judicial Administration 10.20 addresses actions judges can take to preserve the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system and recommends that courts establish local committees on bias with local bar associations and representative members of the court community; support educational programs to eliminate bias; and develop informal procedures for complaints of bias in the courtroom.
The Work Group to Enhance Administrative Standards Addressing Bias in Court Proceedings will propose amendments to ensure the standard reflects both current law and recent work done by the Judicial Council to prevent harassment and discrimination.
Over the coming year, the work group will consider:
- Updating the protected classifications listed in the current 10.20 standard;
- The optimal role and composition of local bias committees—considering confidentiality issues with receiving and handling complaints, existing complaint avenues, responsibilities for those who receive complaints, existing education requirements and opportunities, and changes to relevant laws; and
- Other changes to better assist courts in maintaining a courtroom environment free of bias and the appearance of bias.
The group will build on recent action taken by the Work Group for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment, which issued a 2019 report recommending new rules clarifying how courts should update policies on inappropriate workplace conduct and complaint reporting and response procedures. Those recommendations were adopted by the Judicial Council and incorporated into California Rule of Court 10.351.
The new eight-member work group will be co-chaired by Administrative Presiding Justice Brad Hill, of the Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fresno), and Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie. Additional work group members include:
- Justice Carin Fujisaki, First District Court of Appeal (San Francisco)
- Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile, Los Angeles County Superior Court
- Presiding Judge Joyce D. Hinrichs, Humboldt County Superior Court
- Chief Executive Officer Nancy Eberhardt, San Bernardino County Superior Court
- Attorney Gretchen Nelson
- Attorney Rachel Hill
The Work Group expects to make recommendations to the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council in fall 2021.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on Preventing of Discrimination and Harassment:
Judicial Council Meeting, July 2019