Courts Improving

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A Nebraska Supreme Court judge says there have been improvements in the state's justice system since the Minority and Justice Task Force released a report on racial and ethnic bias last year.

But more needs to be done, said Judge John Gerrard.

Gerrard is co-chair of the Implementation Committee, created by the task force to turn into reality the report's recommendations.

The committee recently released its first-year progress report on some of the issues the task force identified. Comprised of 40 lawyers, judges, agency directors and lay people, the group issued a number of findings and recommendations in the 2003 report.

Among them are that minorities have less trust than white people in the justice system. Also, juries are not representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of their communities.

It also found that minorities have arrest rates more than five times higher than whites.