To close out our series Every Month is Black History Month, we are revisiting the important work of the court system in providing equal justice to all New Yorkers.
In January 2021, our series highlighting the individual stories of judges during the pandemic Dispensing Justice from a Distance virtually brought together Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson and interviewer and NYU Law Professor Troy A. McKenzie. Judge Mendelson and Prof. McKenzie’s discussion included how the pandemic has necessitated serious changes to help all New Yorkers receive their day in court.
Along with the changes brought on by the pandemic, Judge Mendelson and Prof. McKenzie also discussed the importance of Secretary Jeh C. Johnson’s 2020 Report from the Special Advisor on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts. Secretary Johnson and his team conducted an independent four-month study of the court system’s policies and practices as they relate to issues of racism, bias, and disparate treatment at the request of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.
Secretary Johnson’s report provided many recommendations, which Chief Judge DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks began to address. In 2021, the Chief Judge issued a new report to reflect on how the court system has begun to implement many of these recommendations. Judge Mendelson has been leading the implementation process as part of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge duties. Her interview reflects on the many emotions she felt taking on this role.
Watch the Interview with Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson & Prof. Troy A. McKenzie (From 22:20)