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NJ Latino, Black Caucuses Issue Statement on Discrimination Allegations Against Millville Courts


By: Richard L. Smith 

The members of the New Jersey Legislative Latino and Black Caucuses issued the following statement after the release of the AOC’s investigation into the allegations of disparate treatment of Latino defendants within the Millville Municipal Court System:


“After meeting with Judge Grant today and reading the findings of the AOC’s investigation, it appears that the investigation did not find direct evidence showing the Millville Municipal Court System purposefully or intentionally treated Latino defendants disparately in their offering of virtual or in-person hearings.

However, while these findings provide some sense of assurance, they did also identify possible systemic issues specific to language access for non-English speakers that continue to be seen throughout the New Jersey Judicial System.

While the policy changes proposed in this report are a step in the right direction, these commonsensical changes also compel us to question why these critical services are not already being offered to New Jersey’s residents.

“New Jersey is the fourth-most diverse state in the nation and is also one of the most ethnically diverse, which includes language.

Tax-paying citizens of this state deserve the right to expect, when they engage the judicial or any of the many governmental systems in this state, to understand what is required of them to maneuver effectively in these systems.

This takes on an even more critical tone when we discuss legal matters.

As members of the New Jersey Legislature, we are charged with the responsibility to ask questions, evaluate current policies and practices, and work with our colleagues in the different branches of government to find solutions.

It is clear a more robust discussion is needed to ensure language accessibility is provided throughout all levels government.

“Today we thank Judge Grant, Director of the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), and his team for handling this matter with the importance and expediency it merited.

As a next step, we await the findings of the independent investigation by the Division on Civil Rights on this matter.

We remain committed to ensuring that any practice whether state or local that impacts communities of color in a negative disparate manner, that they be addressed and rectified immediately to ensure that all New Jersey residents are treated equally and fairly throughout all levels of government.”