Court panel to hold hearings on ethnic, racial fairness issues

February 21, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A commission examining racial and ethnic fairness in Maryland's courts will hold public forums around the state next week at which people can discuss their experiences and make suggestions for improvement.

The commission is headed by Court of Appeals Judge Dale R. Cathell, who was appointed last year by Chief Judge Robert M. Bell to look into equality issues, identify problems and propose solutions.

The hearings, which begin at 6 p.m., will be held:

Monday at Pemberton Elementary School in Salisbury.

Tuesday at the Jaycees Community Center in Waldorf.

Wednesday at City College in Baltimore.

Thursday at South Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown.

Feb. 28 at the Marriott Conference Center, University of Maryland University College in College Park.

People can speak at a hearing, speak confidentially in private and submit written remarks through March 14. Written statements should be mailed to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Judicial Process, Maryland Judicial Center, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis 21401.

In addition to the hearings, the panel mailed questionnaires to 10,000 past litigants and will mail them to court personnel to give to people whose cases are now in the courts. Testimony and responses to the questionnaires will be compiled in April.

The commission hopes to complete its report by year's end.

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