NewsCovering Louisiana


Louisiana's Chief Justice: We are part of the problem

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 20:01:02-04

Bernette Joshua Johnson, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, penned a letter to her colleagues in government to acknowledge "the part we each play in maintaining a system that leaves many of our fellow citizens, especially our African American citizens, feeling that they cannot breathe."

The letter, which you can read in its entirety by scrolling down, talks about history - recent and not recent - and how she feels government must respond.

"The protests—though triggered by recent events—are not about one or two isolated incidences of police violence. Rather, the protests are the consequence of centuries of institutionalized racism that has plagued our legal system," she writes. "Statistics show that the Louisiana criminal legal system disproportionately affects African Americans, who comprise 32% of our population in Louisiana, but 70% of our prison population. African American children in Louisiana are imprisoned at almost seven times the rate of White children. Our prison population did not increase fivefold from 7,200 in 1978, to 40,000 in 2012 without decisive action over many years by the legislature and by prosecutors, juries and judges around the state. We are part of the problem they protest."

Here's the full letter: