NACDL News: Stakeholders, Experts Propose Court Reforms to Improve Quality of Justice

On April 6, the Monroe H. Freedman Institute at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law hosted a conference called “Judicial Responsibility for Justice in Criminal Courts.” The conference brought together judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, scholars, and criminal justice policy experts for a day of interactive panels on procedural justice, bail, implicit bias, deficiencies in the right to counsel, sentencing, and changing court culture. The goals of the program were to identify barriers to justice in overburdened and underfunded state and local criminal justice systems and to explore practical reforms to improve the quality of justice delivered by judges in those courts. The program had a particular focus on high-volume misdemeanor courts, where concerns for speedy disposition too often lead to curtailing of due process rights for the accused, and defendants may appear at critical stages of the case without the benefit of counsel.