For immediate release: Judges endorsed by campaign to end cash bail win in Jefferson County, KY

November 9, 2022 [11:15 PM] Louisville, Kentucky – On November 8th, Jefferson County voters elected seven Judges from the slate of candidates Louisville SURJ endorsed as the best choice to serve on the District Court, Circuit Court, and Court of Appeals. Tracy Yvette Davis beat Judge Mary Shaw, who authorized the no-knock warrant that the police who killed Breonna Taylor used to enter her apartment legally. Louisville SURJ selected these candidates for our slate of endorsements after hundreds of hours of court watching, where we tracked Judges’ use of cash bail, noting trends in how judges set bail based on  race, charges, and type of representation. 

Over 100 volunteers with Louisville SURJ contacted over 2,500 residents and distributed 2,500+ copies of the Judge endorsement slate. Louisville SURJ has been working for years to end the practice of cash bail, which holds people who have not been convicted of a crime in cages because they do not have the ability to pay. Eleven people have died in Louisville’s jail in the past year. 

“Tonight was the biggest inflection point in our campaign to end cash bail. For years we have knocked the doors of voters and observed judges in the courtroom. With every circuit and district judge on the ballot we saw an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the issue. We complimented our court watch program with interviews and questionnaires and endorsed a slate of judges who could make a substantive and immediate change in the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be brought into our injustice system. With tonight’s results less people will go to jail on an unaffordable bail, less will experience the cruel, inhumane, and deadly treatment of that jail, and another step towards the abolition of wealth based detention was taken.” – Alex Flood, Kentucky Lead Organizer, Showing Up for Racial Justice

“In these times when the far right is trying to convince white working class people to align with those at the top instead of Black and Brown communities, we were able to get people to see we need judges who will center equity, transparency and bail reform.This is the biggest effort to elect judicial candidates committed to reform in Jefferson County in my lifetime. And over half of our candidates won. In a particularly critical win, Black working class progressive Tracy Davis, beat the incumbent judge who signed the No Knock Warrant that led to Breonna Taylor’s death.

With the lead of Louisville’s Black community, LSURJ was able to provide a margin of victory through reaching white working class voters for Davis.” – Carla Wallace, SURJ Co-Founder, member of Louisville SURJ

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