|Minority Concerns| |Hudson Vicinage|

Hudson Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns

History of the Minority Concerns Committee in the New Jersey Judiciary

In 1983 the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Judiciary appointed a 16-member internal study group, called the Minority Concerns Committee, to study racial and ethnic bias in the courts. This committee later evolved into the 48-member Task Force on Minority Concerns consisting of judges, court staff and members of the public. The Task Force was the first such group appointed by any court in the United States; its existence and pioneering work helped trigger what has become a national movement to identify and eliminate discrimination against minorities in the court system. The Task Force submitted a report that included 63 recommendations, 53 of which were approved in some form for implementation. In 1992 the New Jersey Supreme Court appointed the Standing Committee on Minority Concerns charged with monitoring the implementation of the court-approved recommendations of the Task Force on Minority Concerns and with the task of advising the Supreme Court on how the Judiciary may best assure fairness, impartiality, equal access, and full participation of ethnic and racial minorities in the Judiciary. To assist the Judiciary in implementing the Task Force recommendations and the standing committee in its ongoing work in this area, the Court created advisory committees in each of the state's fifteen vicinages. The vicinage committee works in collaboration with the standing Supreme Court Committee and other vicinage advisory committees as set forth in guidelines established by the Court.

Role of the Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns 

The Hudson Vicinage Advisory Committee's primary responsibility is to advise the Assignment Judge by identifying needs of the minority community in the Hudson Vicinage with respect to the 53 approved recommendations outlined in the Task Force Report as well other emergent issues.

The Assignment Judge plays a critical role in activities of the vicinage Committees on Minority Concerns.  Under his or her leadership and guidance, vicinage needs assessments are conducted, a plan of action  drafted and program implementation strategies proposed, prioritized and operationalized.

The Assignment Judge relies on the committee to study issues in areas that are within the Assignment Judge's authority to address, develop implementation plans, and monitor effectiveness in addressing the issues and concerns identified.

Under the immediate direction and coordination of the Assignment Judge, the Committee undertakes the following:

  1. Identifies and determines the specific needs which should be addressed within the Vicinage;
  2. Develops implementation plans that address the identified needs within the Vicinage for approval by the Assignment Judge and submits these plans to the Standing Committee for review;
  3. Monitors the execution of local implementation plans, reports periodically to the Assignment Judge and provides periodic status reports to the Standing Committee; 
  4. Proposes program initiatives to the Assignment Judge and calls to the Assignment Judge's attention other areas of concern, issues which need further investigation and emergent issues which need the Court's prompt attention;
  5. Reviews and advises the court on goals, objectives and implementation time tables and court policies, procedures and directives and
  6. Conducts internal studies and studies recommended by the Standing Committee and other appropriate research.

Scope of Inquiry 

The Vicinage Advisory Committee limits its scope to issues over which the Supreme Court and/or the Assignment Judge have administrative control. Its inquiry and implementation efforts are targeted towards the historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic minority groups - African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Native Americans. If there are issues which you would like to bring to the Advisory Committee's attention, please contact the Committee's staff liaison by writing:

Hudson Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns
c/o Pauline D. Daniels, Staff
Hudson County Superior Court
595 Newark Avenue, Room 102
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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