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Elimination of Bias Committee

Elimination of Bias Committee

The Monterey County Superior Court, in collaboration with the Monterey County Bar Association and the Monterey County Women Lawyers Association, has established the Monterey County Superior Court Joint Committee on the Elimination of Bias.

Elimination of Bias Committee Charter


Understanding that as human beings we have biases that affect our actions, the Monterey County Superior Court Joint Committee on the Elimination of Bias is committed to working within our legal community to help identify and eliminate actions that prevent us from achieving a fair and impartial court environment. The purpose of this Committee is to assist in maintaining courtrooms free of bias and the appearance of bias through sponsoring educational programs and training, and promoting open communication.

Policy Against Bias

Consistent with the California Standards of Judicial Administration, section 10.20, the Monterey County Superior Court is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system and to maintaining court interactions free of bias and the appearance of bias.  It is the policy of the court that all judicial officers and employees should refrain from engaging in conduct, and should take action to prevent others from engaging in conduct, that exhibits bias, including but not limited to bias based on age, ancestry, color, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and any other classification protected by federal or state law, including Government Code section 12940, subdivision (a) and the California Code of Judicial Ethics, canon 3(B)(5), whether that bias is directed toward counsel, court staff, witnesses, parties, jurors, or any other person.  This policy does not preclude legitimate comment or advocacy when such classifications are issues in court proceedings, nor does it preclude the court from considering such classifications when necessary or relevant to the proper exercise of adjudicatory or administrative functions.

Notice of Concern Process 

If an individual has a concern about compliance with the policy against bias set forth above by the court or by any courtroom participant, then the individual may submit a written Notice of Concern to the Presiding Judge or Court Executive Officer, which identifies all courtroom participants and the specific behavior or conduct of concern occurring in the courtroom.  The intent of the Notice of Concern procedure is to educate all parties with the purpose of ameliorating the concern rather than disciplining the person who is the subject of the notice.  Though not guaranteed, to the extent possible and depending on the nature of the complaint or allegation, the court will attempt to protect the confidentiality of the noticing party, the person who is the subject of the notice, and other interested persons.   

A Notice of Concern may be sent to either:

Presiding Judge
Notice of Concern
Monterey County Superior Court
240 Church Street 
Salinas CA, 93901

Court Executive Officer
Notice of Concern
Monterey County Superior Court
240 Church Street 
Salinas CA, 93901

Committee Membership

Committee members shall be selected every 2 years and shall serve 2 year terms. The committee shall be composed of representative members of the court community including judicial officers, lawyers, court administrators, Self Help staff, law students and others representing governmental or community organizations involved in diversity, equity and inclusion. Committee members should be representatives and individuals who interact with the court and reflect the diverse and various needs and viewpoints of court users.

Members whose terms conclude on December 31, 2024:

  • Judge Elisabeth Mineta
  • Ashley Cameron, Esq.
  • Laura Franklin, Esq.
  • Lana Nassoura, Assistant District Attorney
  • Cynthia Negrete, Esq.
  • Marina Pantchenko, Esq.
  • Jigar Patel, Chief Deputy Public Defender
  • Derrick Pino, Esq.
  • Kelly McCarthy Sutherland, Esq. and President, Monterey County Bar Association

Members whose terms conclude on December 31, 2025:

  • Judge Stephanie E. Hulsey, Chair
  • Commissioner William Litt
  • Katy Grant, Interim Court Executive Officer
  • Rhonda Combs, Assistant City Attorney, Salinas
  • Tom Espinosa, Esq.
  • Crystal Gaudette, Esq. and President, Monterey County Women Lawyers Association
  • Juan Rodriguez, Esq., Civil Rights Officer for Monterey County
  • Teri Scarlett, Executive Director of Legal Services for Seniors
  • Sara Sturtevant, Esq.

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