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Section 8: Diversity
8.1 The Importance of Diversity
Apart from perceptions about the system overall, some defendants are uncom- fortable with or have difficulty putting their trust in lawyers who do not share or understand the experiences of someone of their race, ethnicity, gender, or reli- gious beliefs.839 As a federal public defender told the Committee, some common- ality—whether it be shared race, ethnicity, or background—is important “to bring some level of comfort to our clients.”840 In fact, “sometimes, that’s all [an attorney] can do. [Often,] these guys are just really in a pickle,”841 and counsel has “to start building a level of trust immediately in order to be able to get to the point where [they can] deliver what is very often terrible news about what the possible verdict or sentence is going to be.”842 As defense attorneys testified, if clients “not only know but feel that there is a personal interest, a vested interest,”843 on the attorneys’ part, “clients will have a high enough level of trust in what we’re telling them that they will accept responsibility for their actions and get a lesser sentence than they oth- erwise would....[D]iversity is part of that.”844 And attorneys themselves need to be comfortable working with a diverse population of clients; that level of comfort “is
839 “Whenlawyersandclientscomefromdifferentbackgroundsandculturalviewpoints,theyoften have a more difficult time creating a trusting lawyer-client relationship in which both parties feel comfortable sharing honest and accurate information.” Serena Patel, Cultural Competency Training: Preparing Law Students for Practice in Our Multicultural World, 62 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 140 (2014) (citing Poverty, Health and Law: Readings and Cases for Medical Legal Partnership 52 (Elizabeth T. Tyler et al. eds., 2011)).
840 LaineCardarella,FPD,W.D.Mo.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel2,Tr.,at36–37. 841 Id.at37.
842 JennifferHoran,FPD,E.D.Ark.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel2,Tr.,at37.
843 LaineCardarella,FPD,W.D.Mo.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel2,Tr.,at37. 844 JennifferHoran,FPD,E.D.Ark.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel2,Tr.,at37.
No recommendation presented herein represents T H E A D H O C C O M M I T T E E T O R E V I E W T H E C R I M I N A L J U S T I C E A C T the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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