For True Justice in Cases Like Ahmaud Arbery’s, We Must Have a Diverse Bench

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Ahmaud Arbery who was murdered jogging near his home on February 23rd, 2020.
Ahmaud Arbery who was murdered jogging near his home on February 23rd, 2020.

Say his name. How can a simple jogging task turn into a murder? The spotlight turns again on prosecutors, law enforcement and judges, many of whom are elected or appointed, to do the right thing and make an arrest and/or administer justice. Mr. Arbery’s alleged assailants have remained free since February. The entire community remained silent until a video surfaced on social media. That’s injustice and infuriating on so many levels. These elected officials should never be elected to office again. The local NAACP and other social justice organizations should mobilize and strongly encourage others to run for top prosecutor, judge and other elected positions. Don’t underestimate your ability to run for office. Many unqualified people have been elected to high positions, including judgeships.

Voting for judges is important. I pray the right judge is assigned to and presides over Ahmaud Arbery’s murder trial. Trial judges are the ones who preside over murder trials like Trayvon Martin’s case. My idea of a lawyer who would make a great trial judge or even supreme court justice is Bryan Stevenson who authored Just Mercy.  Since there are none on today’s ballot in 2020, we must settle for a similar individual with Mr. Stevenson’s mindset or one who is intimately familiar with the struggles existing in the minority communities in this county because they have seen first hand the injustices and can articulate with precision why the criminal justice system is dysfunctional and does not work for many. 

Claudia Barber is a former administrative law judge, a current attorney and a former candidate for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge.

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