In 1999, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania began the process by appointing The Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System to undertake such a study in Pennsylvania. PMC Advisory Board member André Dennis and Executive Director Lynn Marks served as Co-Chairs of the Committee's two sub-committees.
Following three years of hearings and research, on March 3, 2003, the Committee submitted its report to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The report is now publicly available on the Supreme Court's website. The areas the Committee addressed and made recommendations about are enumerated below:
· Chapter 1. Litigants with Limited English Proficiency
· Chapter 2. Racial and Ethnic Bias in Jury Selection
· Chapter 3. Gender Bias in Jury Selection
· Chapter 4. Sentencing Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
· Chapter 5. Indigent Defense in Pennsylvania
· Chapter 6. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Imposition of the Death Penalty
· Chapter 7. Civil Litigation
· Chapter 8. Employment and Appointment Practices of the Courts
· Chapter 9. Perceptions and Occurrences of Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Bias in the Courtroom
· Chapter 10. Domestic Violence
· Chapter 11. Sexual Assault
· Chapter 12. Family Law
· Chapter 13. Juvenile Justice
· Chapter 14. Intersection of Race and Gender Bias
After the Report was released, the Supreme Court appointed two committees to consider how to adopt and implement the Committee’s Recommendations. Then, in 2005, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to make the effort to reduce bias in the courts a high priority of the entire state government. This was accomplished through the establishment of the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness.
PMC authored an article about the Bias Report that appeared in the Philadelphia Lawyer.