FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2022
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) denounces the discriminatory practices against members of the Hispanic community recently uncovered by a municipal court judge in Millville Municipal Court. The Honorable Jason D. Witcher, J.M.C. courageously recognized and condemned a pattern of discriminatory actions taken by Millville court administrators against Spanish-speaking defendants and defendants with Hispanic-sounding surnames. Judge Witcher stated he previously reported his findings and was ignored. Judge Witcher has stated that he was threatened with removal from the bench following his complaint that Hispanic defendants in his Cumberland County courtroom were being required to appear in-person for hearings, while non-Hispanic defendants were given the option to appear virtually. Such discriminatory conduct is particularly harmful to an already underserved community because it unnecessarily forces people to take time off work or school, find childcare at an additional cost and increases the fear and disdain for the judiciary for being targeted.
There is no place for discrimination within our society, but certainly not within the State's judicial system. HBA-NJ learned that the Judiciary has already started an investigation into these allegations, and we look forward to a full report and immediate resolution to these prejudicial practices. We applaud and stand by Judge Witcher for speaking out against these disturbing discriminatory practices against the Hispanic community and implore any and all vicinages engaging in such conduct to cease and desist immediately. As stated by HBA-NJ President, Albertina Webb: “These allegations are very alarming, particularly in a State where the Hispanic community constitutes nearly 20% of the population. All New Jersey residents are entitled to equal access to our courts, regardless of race, color, or national origin. We thank Judge Witcher for raising these injustices on the record."
About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.
The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
For press inquiries, please contact: Perla Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org, HBA-NJ Press Secretary.
For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Albertina Webb, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at email@example.com.