Colorado Supreme Court Justice William Hood spent 10 years as a prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District. And he recalled instances when a defendant would be the only person of color in the room.
“And that’s really troubling when that happens,” he said. “I just try to imagine the defendant in that situation and looking out and seeing people that don’t resemble me at all.”
Hood has paired up with Justice Monica Márquez to address that lack of diversity through what they’ve called a “bench dream team,” intent on encouraging diverse attorneys from around Colorado to apply for judgeships. They’re building a network of judges willing to sit down with hopeful applicants over coffee or lunch to talk about their interests.
Those types of conversations have special significance for Márquez. She joined the court in 2010 and made history as the first openly gay Latina to do so. But she almost didn’t apply at all, the possibility not even crossing her mind until members of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association took her out for coffee to try convincing her to throw her hat in the ring.