Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts

 When Justice Works

​In 2021, the Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts used a grant to commission the production of four videos featuring judges from four different courts to talk about racial and ethnic issues and what justice means to them. The series, entitled “When Justice Works,” also was featured in public service advertising and on public transit buses. Click on each photo to view the video of each judge.

Melissa Long
Supreme Court​


Lia Stuhlsatz
Family Court​


Luis Matos
Superior Court​


Keith Cardoza
Workers' Compensation Court​


 The Mission

The Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts (Committee) was created to enhance public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the Rhode Island Judiciary and to promote a fair and bias-free justice system by: 1) engaging in self-examination, education, and public outreach; 2) identifying areas of systemic racism, unconscious bias, disparate impact, and socioeconomic and other inequities; and 3) taking affirmative steps to self-monitor and combat inequities, so as to ensure a system that is accessible to all and treats all persons equally.​

The Committee was formed in 2020 in response to a summer of public unrest sparked by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor along with a renewed national discussion about the corrosive impact of systemic racism that has been exposed by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black and ethnic minority communities.

The Committee consists of twelve (12) judicial officers appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell who represent each of the six (6) courts in Rhode Island’s unified court system: Supreme Court, Superior Court, Family Court, District Court, Workers’ Compensation Court, and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. The committee is committed to the following goals:

  • Identifying areas where systemic racism exists in our various courts and developing a plan to address them;
  • Identifying and presenting training opportunities for judicial officers in areas such as implicit bias; and
  • ​Engaging the public in forums outside of court to better understand their personal experiences with the courts and reaffirming our commitment to “equal treatment under law.”