In Hardin County and across the country, minorities and people of a lower socioeconomic status are often at a disadvantage when they find themselves in the criminal justice system. Many people believe that judges and prosecutors are biased against African Americans and other people of color, and this could have something to do with the disproportionately low representation of these races among prosecutors and judges.

Prosecutors, who are elected by citizens of the county over which they preside, have exceptionally low minority representation: 95% of prosecutors in the U.S. are white. Judges are not much better as in 2016, only two in 10 state trial judges across the country were people of color; within 16 states, that number dropped to less than one in 10.

The American Bar Association conducted a survey showing that underrepresentation of Black Americans and people of color starts before they reach the level of government. For the past decade, Black people comprised only about 5% of all attorneys with virtually no increase in that percentage up through 2019. This percentage is less than half of the total percentage of African Americans who live in the country, which is 13%. People of color make up three times as much of the population as African Americans.

Research has shown that a judge’s upbringing and background determine a lot about how he or she will act, such as whether the judge will be severe or lenient in sentencing. Some people have noted a difference in how Black and female judges behave as compared to white male judges. With the treatment of defendants being so subjective, it may be a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney before entering into any plea deals or otherwise engaging with police or prosecutors after an arrest.