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Last updated 12:37AM ET
March 6, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
Judges Gather to Discuss Fairness
(2007-07-30)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - About 200 judges gathered Sunday at the tomb of civil rights leaders Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King to reaffirm their efforts to promote fairness in the legal system.

The judges, part of the National Bar Association's Judicial Council, gathered with King's sister, Christine King Farris, to place a wreath before the tomb. The event was part of the National Bar Association's annual conference, which began Saturday in Atlanta and continues through Friday.

Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris of New Orleans, standing before the reflecting pool that surrounds the tomb, recalled a quote by Martin Luther King that said the law cannot control a man's heart but can restrict the heartless.

"I encourage all of my 'bretheren of the bench' to use your bench to continue to restrict the heartless and continue to mete out justice and thereby doing your part for peace," said Bagneris, who is the judicial council's chairman.

Farris thanked the judges for their civil rights efforts.

"If it had not been for our lawyers and judges, I'm not sure we would have made the progress that we did," Farris said. "Dr. King had to rely and depend on them."

None of the judges offered specific proposals during the short ceremony that was held amid the hot and humid day but Bagneris later said it's often not the laws themselves that cause unfairness among community groups but the way the laws are applied.

Circuit Court Judge Marion Humphrey of Pulaski County, Ark., said more needs to be done to help those imprisoned gain a better financial footing after serving their sentences. He said it affects black communities because of the disproportionate number of blacks in U.S. prisons.

"Justice has to play a role in this," Humphrey said.

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