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New Rochester court program has observers look for implicit bias from judges

A new collaborative program between social justice activists and Rochester courts is designed to notify judges of possible implicit bias in their courtrooms.

The Judicial Observation Project has been in a trial period for over a year, with five judges having volunteered for the program. Volunteer observers are trained to identify instances of implicit bias, according to Democrat & Chronicle.


Organizers of the Judicial Observation Project said its the first of its kind in New York State. The United Christian Leadership Ministry (UCLM) first submitted a proposal for the project in December 2020. State Supreme Court Justice William Taylor, City Court Judge Melissa Barrett, other judges, the District Attorney and Public Defender offices all participated in the creation of the project.

The current 14 trained volunteer observers plan to present their findings to judges in the coming weeks.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Shanique Byrd at [email protected] or [email protected].



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