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Cobb Courts Participate in Implicit Bias Training

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pictures of Dr. Bryant T marks
March 3, 2021

Cobb Superior Court hosts implicit bias training for the entire Cobb Judiciary

Marietta, Ga., March 3 --- The Cobb Judicial Circuit is among the first in the state to have judicial officers across all classes of courts attend implicit bias training. The Superior Court hosted this training for the entire Cobb judiciary on Friday, Feb. 26. Chief Justice Harold Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia was also in attendance.

This interactive training from the National Training Institute on Race and Equity was led by Dr. Bryant T. Marks, Ph.D., who is the organization’s founder and chief equity officer. It focused on recognizing how implicit biases are normal byproducts of being human, living in society, and being overexposed to certain groups with certain traits and in certain roles. A key concept highlighted was this is about the machinery of the mind and not the content of one's character. Judges learned how to take steps to be more cognizant of and guard against these implicit biases in judicial decision-making.

“Today, we believe Cobb County became the first judicial circuit in Georgia to offer this type of impactful training to its judiciary from top to bottom, across all classes of courts,” said Chief Judge Rob Leonard, who organized the training. “It’s important to let the public know that we take very seriously our solemn obligation to dispense justice fairly and impartially.”

With 50 judges in attendance from the Cobb Superior, State, Juvenile, Probate, Magistrate, and Municipal Courts, Leonard added, “I could not have been more pleased with the participation, engagement, or the turnout. I am very proud of the leadership role that our bench played in bringing this training to judicial education in Georgia.”

Superior Court Judge Angela Brown, who attended the training, said “It is important for us to begin to understand and address the historic race issues affecting justice in the court system and this training was a great first step. To see my colleagues from all classes of Cobb courts and such great participation from my own Superior Court bench is encouraging.”

Chief Magistrate Brendan Murphy also found the training extremely useful.

“As magistrate judges, our decisions set the trajectory for the entire criminal justice process,” Murphy said. “Even small unconsidered and unchecked unconscious biases can have devastating consequences. I’m grateful Chief Judge Leonard organized this dynamic presentation and proud that all 18 Cobb magistrate judges actively participated.”

Chief State Court Judge Carl Bowers added “The State Court of Cobb County, along with our colleagues in the other courts, is pleased to have participated in the implicit bias training offered by Dr. Marks. His topic is timely, relevant and beneficial.”

Dr. Marks served on President Obama’s Board of Advisors with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and as a senior advisor with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He has provided implicit bias training to more than 2,000 police chiefs and executives via a series of briefings at the White House. He has also trained tens of thousands of police officers in local police departments across the United States, as well as local prosecutors.

The Superior Court of Cobb County is a court of general jurisdiction handling both civil and criminal law actions. The Superior Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the State Court over cases involving misdemeanors, contract disputes, premises liability, and various other actions. In addition, the Superior Court has exclusive equity jurisdiction over all cases of divorce, title to land, and felonies involving jury trials, including death penalty cases. The Superior Court of Cobb County has 10 elected judges who preside over jury trials, rule on evidence, hear motions and render verdicts in bench trials. Each Superior Court Judge is elected to a four-year term.

For more information, please contact Amanda Marshall at 678-522-9261 or [email protected] .