Alumna Melba V. Pearson ’97 Comments on New Study Reporting Dearth of Black Elected Prosecutors

According to a new study led by the Women Donors Network, about 95 percent of the 2,437 elected state and local prosecutors across the country in 2014 were white, and 79 percent were white men. Also, 66 percent of states that elect prosecutors have no blacks in those offices. The New York Times spoke to Hofstra Law alumna Melba V. Pearson ’97, the president of the National Black Prosecutors Association, about the study’s findings.

A Study Documents the Paucity of Black Elected Prosecutors: Zero in Most States
By Nicholas Fandos
The New York Times
July 7, 2015


Melba V. Pearson, a Miami lawyer and the president of the National Black Prosecutors Association, said a “long stain” caused by the imbalance was responsible for mistrust in the system by African-Americans and other minorities.

“They have to see someone that looks like them,” she said. “When you walk into a courtroom and no one looks like you, do you think you are going to get a fair shake?”

Ms. Pearson said she tried to show African-American lawyers that they needed to be represented in all roles in the criminal justice system, including as prosecutors, a role traditionally stigmatized in the black community, to ensure fair outcomes.

A version of this article appears in print on July 7, 2015, on page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: Two-Thirds of States That Elect Prosecutors Have None Who Are Black.

Read the full article.

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