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August 05, 2021

Philadelphia Bar Association Releases Statement on Federal Sentencing Study

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Lauren P. McKenna today released the following statement on a recent study on racial disparities in federal sentencing by the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity:

“The elimination of bias and discrimination in the justice system is a core value of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as is the importance of judicial integrity and independence. We have always spoken out on these issues and it is important that we do so now.

The findings of this study are wholly inconsistent with the feedback our Association has received from leaders and practitioners who have appeared before Judge C. Darnell Jones II and Judge Timothy J. Savage in federal criminal proceedings in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It is unclear how the study’s methodology accounts for differences in circumstances of the individual cases, and other protocols governing case assignments and sentencing at the federal level. The study is not peer-reviewed or published. The findings of this study are also entirely inconsistent with the longstanding and outstanding reputations of these judges for fairness, integrity and impartiality.

The Philadelphia Bar Association believes racial injustice must be uncovered anywhere it exists in the legal system. We believe that any accusations of racial bias should be taken seriously, but must be fully substantiated. We encourage and stand ready to assist the federal courts or any other group in engaging in critical conversations on this issue.”

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