News

  • October 4, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick will serve as a panelist on “Best Practices Regarding Batson Challenges and other Jury Diversity Issues” during the PBA Minority Attorney Conference.
  • August 22, 2019 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick will conduct a presentation on “Cultural Competence/and Implicit Bias in the Justice System” at Duquesne University Law School’s Orientation Program for incoming first-year law students.
  • June 7, 2019 - Harrisburg: Executive Director McCormick conducted a presentation on ‘Implicit Bias in the Criminal Justice System” at the PBI Criminal Justice Symposium.
  • June 3, 2019: the Interbranch Commission submitted Comments to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Evidence in support of the Committee’s proposal to add a new comment to Rule 401 of the PA Rules of Evidence, indicating that evidence of a person’s immigration status, among other characteristics, is irrelevant and inadmissible.
  • May 20, 2019 - Miami, Florida: On behalf of the Pennsylvania Courts, Executive Director McCormick presented the Pennsylvania State Report on Racial and Ethnic Fairness Initiatives at the Annual Conference of the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness
  • May 16-17, 2019: On behalf of the Civil and Equal Rights Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), Executive Director McCormick presented a Resolution to the PBA’s House of Delegates and Board of Governors. More >>
  • April 4-5, 2019 - Philadelphia: Executive Director Lisette McCormick moderated a panel presentation on “Protecting Your Non-Citizen Clients’ Rights in the Courtroom” at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Civil Rights Symposium.

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Upcoming Events

  • September 19, 2019 - Harrisburg: The Interbranch Commission will hold its Quarterly Meeting.

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view the report

The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report

Members

  • Lucille Marsh, Esq. (Chair)
  • Shamira Cooper, Esq.
  • Judge Deborah E. Curcillo
  • Suzanna Estrella
  • Karen Galbraith
  • Roberta D. Liebenberg, Esq.
  • Joyce Lukima
  • Rachel Pinkser
  • Judy Hale Reed, Esq.
  • Bernadette Eyler Smith
  • Steven V. Turner, Esq.

 

Reports

 

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims Committee

Chaired by Lucille Marsh, Esq., the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims Committee works to address the particular needs of these victims and improve the legal response to their unique situations. The Committee’s current priorities include:

  • creating a statewide framework to assist victims of human trafficking;
  • advocating for legislation to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and
  • conducting training sessions for judges and lawyers about this topic.

Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking: Several years ago, the Committee conducted a training session for law enforcement and prosecutors on the issue of commercial sex trafficking of juveniles in Pennsylvania. The Committee currently collaborates with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition to promote training on the issue, especially for judges, and is advocating for legislative changes to encourage prosecution of traffickers and support services for victims. The Commission is also working with prominent stakeholders in the field to develop a sheltering protocol for use, with local modifications, across Pennsylvania to address the immediate needs of victims of human trafficking.

Legislative Advocacy: The Committee has been working with lawmakers to draft and support legislation to combat “revenge pornography,” improve protection from abuse orders, stop the criminalization of victims of human trafficking, and reduce the backlog of untested rape kits.

Education and Training: The Committee’s first step toward its goal of educating the public about the nature of domestic violence was the publication of its pamphlet entitled Domestic Violence:  Safety Tips for You and Your Family. More than 100,000 copies of the pamphlet have been produced in both English and Spanish and distributed throughout the Commonwealth’s judicial offices and local police departments, among other locations. In addition, the Committee conducted training seminars for judges and court employees regarding the nuances of cultural issues in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The Committee also conducted training sessions in conjunction with the publication of And Safety for All: A Guide for Making the Courts Safe for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

The Committee’s past initiatives include:

  • advocating for the use of the Sexual Violence Benchbook, included at right under “Reports;”
  • conducting a study of safety procedures in courthouses and related facilities in domestic violence and sexual assault cases; and
  • other initiatives contained in Chapters Ten and Eleven of the Final Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System.