The panel was coordinated by state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and was the second in a statewide series aimed at developing a diverse judicial body in New York state, given that Gov. Eliot Spitzer will make three appointments to the state Court of Appeals in his first 18 months in office, St. John's said.John D. Feerick, the Sidney C. Norris chairman of Law in Public Service at Fordham University, spoke about the results of a poll of 1,000 voters. "All over the state of New York citizens and voters expressed concern about the lack of diversity in the judiciary. Members of minority groups and the poor felt they were not treated fairly by the judiciary in our state," he said.Minorities account for about 40 percent of New York state's population, U.S. Census data show, while New York City is closer to 50 percent. Queens County is about 60 percent minority.The daylong program featured expert testimony from academia, the bench, the state bar association and the court system, including State Supreme Court Judge Russell T. Eng, the first Asian American to hold the title in the history of the state, and St. John's law professor Leonard Baynes, director of the university's Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Developmen
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