CWL has written an open letter to the Judicial Council calling for action in providing implicit bias training to all sitting judges in California to include information about victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking, to ensure gender fairness since these issues predominantly impact women. CWL urges the California Judicial Council and the Futures Commission to take prompt action to ensure implementation of this necessary training.

CWL joins a growing group of legal, academic and community organizations speaking out after the public outrage over the light sentence received by Brock Turner in Santa Clara County this June.

In response, CWL President Kelly Robbins said,

“Gender fairness can be promoted when our Judges have implicit bias training, including becoming more aware of the behaviors, attitudes and reactions of sexual assault victims, which are typically different from their own life experiences.”

CWL supports prompt implementation of implicit bias training, which was an integral part of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakaeuye’s “Judiciary 2.0,” the next phase of California courts since the economic downturn and funding changes. “Judiciary 2.0” was announced in the State of the Judiciary speech several months before the Brock Turner sentencing and includes implicit bias training for judges. CWL’s Robbins added that the “implementation and on-going implicit bias training and gender fairness for judges will increase the public’s trust and confidence in the courts.”

CWL historically has worked and collaborated with the judiciary to bring gender fairness to the administration of justice since the original Advisory Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts, which began in the mid 1980s. Twenty years ago this July the CA Judicial Council published both the “Achieving Equal Justice for Women and Men in the California Courts, Final Report,”  and the “Judicial Council of California Advisory Committee on Gender Bias in the Courts, July 1996.” CWL was part of developing the methodology, provided testimony and fact gathering, and made suggestions for this work 20 years ago, since CWL members were in the trenches with first-hand knowledge, and many members had client experiences with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

CWL is California’s largest organization whose mission is to advance women in the legal profession and society, and is governed by 15 affiliate women lawyer organizations, as well as and district governors throughout the State of California.


Kelly Robbins