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New Series from the League of Women Voters Will Explore Criminal Justice

photo of gavel and handcuffs
The next Real Talk series will examine the racial inequities in Ohio's criminal justice system.

Prosecutors, judges, and other experts are preparing for a discussion this week that will explore racial inequity in the criminal justice system. It's a Real Talk conversation being organized by the League of Women Voters in Northeast Ohio. The two-part series aims to examine the system from arraignment to re-entry.

Summit County Community Outreach Prosecutor Tania Nemer has seen the justice system from both sides, in her career as a defense attorney working with defendants and now working with the state.

“So I feel that with working all the sides that there’s always an inequity. There’s always a disparity somewhere down the line,” she said.

Nemer says finding these inequities is the goal of part one of the series, which features Nemer and other panelists, including Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton and Cuyahoga County Chief Public Defender Cullen Sweeney. Part two will focus on the barriers formerly incarcerated Ohioans face.

Nemer hopes these conversations will teach people more about the system.

“It’s not going to be the problem solver; it’s going to be the beginning of solving a problem that’s been going on for many many years,” she said.

In part one, the panel will break down the criminal justice system to see the process defendants go through.

Nemer: identifying inconsistencies

“By doing that, you can have a better assessment on where are the inconsistencies, where is there room for improvement," Nemer said. "It’s not all going to happen in one series, but the series is a start to get the information that is needed to make the changes that are always needed.”

Part one will take place Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. You can register for both parts of the series here.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.