Assemblywoman Joyner Wins Passage of Historic Judicial Diversity Legislation

With the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide focus on reforming the criminal justice system, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD) has won passage of New York’s first ever legislation focused on improving diversity in the state’s court system. The Judicial Diversity Act of 2020 requires the Office of Court Administration to conduct a study of the courts that collects information about the ethnicity, race, disability, veteran status, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of the state’s judges.

The study would be the first of its kind in New York’s history and set the stage for moving toward a court system that embraces our state’s diversity. “New York is one of the most diverse states in the country, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that when you step foot in our courtrooms,” Assemblywoman Joyner said. “Our rich diversity is one of our greatest strengths and the Judicial Diversity Act of 2020 takes steps toward bringing the diversity of our community into the court system they rely upon for justice.”

The results of the diversity study would be made public annually and assist policymakers in eliminating barriers that have led to people of color and others being underrepresented on the bench.

Assembly Bill A.10702/ Senate Bill S. 7703 has passed both houses of the State Legislature and will be sent to Governor Cuomo for signature later this year.