About

The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NC-CRED) is dedicated to understanding how racial minorities are disproportionately represented in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. We conduct detailed studies that account for all potential explanations, including socio-economic factors. When individuals are similar in all ways except for their race or ethnicity, and have vastly different outcomes in the criminal or juvenile justice systems, we can conclude that those systems are unfair. If and when we find examples of unfair treatment, we will strive to create recommendations for reform that have support from all of our professionally diverse Commission members. NC-CRED meets four times a year to review research, significant developments regarding race and criminal law, and to discuss collaborative solutions for racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Board Members

James E. Williams, Jr. (Chair)

Former Public Defender, Orange and Chatham Counties

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James E. Williams, Jr. is the former Public Defender for Orange and Chatham Counties in North Carolina.  Prior to 1990 he was Felony Chief of the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office.  Mr. Williams graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1973, and Duke University School of Law with a J.D. in 1979.  He is a member of the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ).  In October 2010, Mr. Williams made a motion before the NCAJ Board of Governors to establish a Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Criminal Justice System which was successfully adapted in October of 2010.  The work of the Task Force led to the establishment of the North Carolina Commission on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System in September 2012.  Mr. Williams then served as the Chair of the Task Force on North Carolina Commission on Racial Disparities.  He also chairs the North Carolina Public Defenders’ Association Committee on Racial Equity and is a current member of the North Carolina Chief Justice Commission on Professionalism.

Daryl Atkinson

Co-Director, Forward Justice

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Hon. Cheri Beasley

Associate Justice

North Carolina Supreme Court

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Kami Chavis

Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University School of Law

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Kami Chavis is a Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University School of Law.  In 2015, she was appointed as a Senior Academic Fellow at the Joint Center for Political And Economic Studies. She has substantial practice experience and writes and teaches in areas related to criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal justice reform.  After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School, she worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations. In 2003, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, involving her in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and in arguing and briefing appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Professor Chavis frequently makes presentations on law-enforcement issues and is a  leader in the field of police accountability. Her articles have appeared in the American Criminial Law Review, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology,  the University of Alabama Law Review, and the Catholic University Law Review, and other legal journals. Her research focuses on using Cooperative Federalism principles and stakeholder participation to implement sustainable reforms in the criminal justice system.  She writes in the areas of police and prosecutorial accountability, federal hate crimes legislation and enforcement, and racial profiling. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2012.

She is a frequent contributor to national and international media outlets and has appeared on CNN, CTV, and NPR.  She has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BBC News, U.S. News and World Report,  International Business Times, Deutsche Welle, and other outlets regarding police accountability and the structural reform of law enforcement agencies.

James E. Coleman

John S. Bradway Professor of the Practice of Law; Director, Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility; Co-Director, Wrongful Convictions Clinic, Duke University

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Jim Woodall

District Attorney

District 15B

Orange & Chatham County

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Commission Members

All Members
  • Daryl Atkinson – Co-Director, Forward Justice
  • The Honorable Cheri L. Beasley – Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Chris Blue – Chief of Police, Chapel Hill Police Department
  • Kami Chavis Simmons – Director of Criminal Justice Program & Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Jim Coleman – Director of the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility; Co-Director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, Duke University School of Law
  • Kim Crouch – Executive Director, NC Advocates for Justice
  • Stormie Forte – Ombudsman, NC Department of Justice
  • Lorrin Freeman – District Attorney, Wake County
  • Dennis Gaddy – Executive Director, Community Success Initiative
  • Rick Glazier – Executive Director, NC Justice Center
  • Dionne Gonder-Stanley, Clinical Associate Professor, NC Central University School of Law
  • Jon Guze – Director of Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
  • James Hinson – Deputy Chief, Greensboro Police Department
  • Jennie Lancaster – Former Chief Deputy Secretary, NC Division of Adult Correction
  • Thomas Maher – Executive Director, Indigent Defense Services
  • James Moore – Chief of Police, City of Rocky Mount
  • Melissa Neal – Senior Research Associate, Policy Research Associates
  • Raul Pinto  – Staff Attorney, NC Justice Center
  • Tonza Ruffin – Ruffin Law Firm, Halifax, NC
  • Gerda Stein – Director of Public Information, Center for Death Penalty Litigation
  • Christopher Swecker – Chairman of the Board, Governor’s Crime Commission
  • The Honorable Mary Ann Tally – Superior Court Judge, District 12C
  • Gabe Talton – Staff Attorney, Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
  • The Honorable Louis Trosch, Jr. – District Court Judge, District 26
  • The Honorable Gregory A. Weeks- Former Superior Court Judge
  • The Hon. James E. Williams, Jr. – Former Public Defender, District 15B
  • The Hon. Todd Williams – District Attorney, Judicial District 28
  • The Honorable Jim Woodall – District Attorney, Chatham and Orange Counties
  • The Honorable Eric Zogry – State Juvenile Defender, NC Office of the Juvenile Defender