Lansing NAACP Comes Out Against Court Consolidation
Above: Judge Hugh Clarke, to whom the letter was addressed (photo courtesy City of Lansing).
Today the Lansing branch of the NAACP issued a letter formally coming out against consolidation of the local district courts.
Talks have been underway regarding the possibility of consolidating East Lansing’s 54B District Court, Lansing’s 54A District Court, and Ingham County’s 55th District Court.
The Lansing NAACP says that consolidating the courts has “the potential to jeopardize diversity on our court benches, and also [jeopardizes] the ability to have diverse jury pools made of the peers of those subject to court matters.”
Representing the organization, President Dulles D. Copedge has addressed the communication to Hon. Hugh B. Clarke, Jr., of Lansing’s 54-A District Court. Clarke has been described by the Lansing City Pulse as “an outspoken opponent of the consolidation effort.”
Writes Copedge, “Our opposition is based upon the possibility that any approval drafted on this concept will hinder progress in a diverse representation in our various communities, while diminishing the ability for a fair trial for people of color.”
In his letter, Copedge copied many others involved in the discussions, including East Lansing’s Mayor Mark Meadows and the rest of the East Lansing City Council.
ELi recently reported that a local veterans’ advocacy group has also come out against consolidation, and that a recent financial analysis from the County on consolidation shows relatively small cost-savings from the plan compared to the original vision.
Meadows has been representing East Lansing’s interests in the ongoing negotiations, but has not reported back in open Council meetings about what has been happening in those closed-door sessions.
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