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Tippecanoe County candidate judges discuss racial disparities at public forum

Racial disparities in the justice system are at the forefront for the Tippecanoe County candidate judges running in this year's election.

Posted: Oct 17, 2020 10:04 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Racial disparities in the justice system are at the forefront for the Tippecanoe County candidate judges,
All five of them came together on Saturday to discuss these issues in a public forum.

Candidate judges Bryan Coulter running for Superior Court 1, Matthew Boulac running for Superior Court 4, Dan Moore running for Superior Court 7, Jacque Chosnek running for Superior Court 7, and Matt Sandy running for Superior Court 4 are addressing concerns surrounding racial injustice within the justice system.

"I think it was a great conversation to have," said Coulter

The NAACP Lafayette/West Lafayette Branch #3056 organized this forum. The goal is to give the candidates a platform to speak on criminal justice issues pressing people of color in the community.

"It was educational, it was inspiring to sit and have to answer questions for people in the community, in the way that they feel. I think that's fantastic for those of us running for judge," said Boulac.

"The conversation is important. Buy-in is important for people to have faith in the criminal justice system and if people think it's not fair based on racial lines, that affects their view of its legitimacy," said Moore.

The candidates responded to a number of questions from how their courtroom could become more inclusive to Black and Brown people to how they plan to stay educated on issues affecting these particular community members.

"I actually considered it to be an educational opportunity for me to not only be able to hear what my colleagues have to say on the issues but the questions that were asked, it was incredibly enlightening," Chosnek.

"There are people of color that appear before a court and they're walking in there and nobody looks like them and that would be concerning, that would bother me. I think a judge has to be sensitive to that," said Sandy.

The candidates say this forum brought an opportunity to reiterate how important it is for them to fight for equality and fairness in their judicial position.

"Treating every person in the courtroom with, and that means every person with dignity and respect goes a long way to promoting fairness in the judicial system," said Coulter.

The local NAACP chapter will be hosting another forum this month. The next panel will include all the county council candidates.
The date for that will be released at a later time.

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