Court Watch Nola’s Executive Director Simone Levine speaks out about the importance of monitoring the criminal court system on WHIV LP 102.3 FM’s JAC Radio Hour. Adrienne Wheeler of the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana and Simone Levine discuss CWN’s history, initiatives for the near future, and how to become involved. “Court watchers are New Orleans.”
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Court Watch NOLA hired a new executive director in August 2015. Simone Levine is a lawyer who has served as both a prosecutor and a public defender before coming to Court Watch NOLA. She came to Court Watch NOLA right after serving as the Deputy Police Monitor of New Orleans in the Office of the Independent Police Monitor. Simone worked in the Office of the Independent Police Monitor for over four years before coming to Court Watch NOLA.
Friends and Supporters,
Over 100 Court Watch NOLA volunteers observed over 1000 mornings of court last year, showing our public servants and elected officials that New Orleanians from all walks of life want an accountable, efficient and respectful criminal justice system. Their observations led to two groundbreaking reports, which showed that while Criminal District Court is becoming more efficient, it needs to provide better customer service to the hundreds of New Orleanians – including jurors, witnesses, defendants, victims and families – who walk through its doors each day.
On this Tuesday, May 5, GiveNOLA Day, please consider supporting our volunteers’ efforts by making a 100% tax-deductible contribution to Court Watch NOLA. Even $25 will help us forcefully advocate for criminal justice reform. You can maximize your support using this link from 12:01 a.m. to midnight on May 5, when all donations will be eligible for a percentage match. You can also make a secure, tax-deductible contribution anytime using the “Donate” button on the right.
In the meantime, read our Spring Newsletter to find out more about the critical work Court Watch NOLA volunteers are doing this Spring, including our Volunteer of the Month and Observation of the Month. And thank you as always for your friendship and support,
The New York Times recently cited New Orleans (under a previous D.A.) as “among the worst” when it comes to prosecutors refusing to share case evidence with defendants. And the news that the trial of Trung Le, who is accused of the 2014 Bourbon Street shooting, will be delayed because the state won’t share its witness list with Mr. Le’s attorney shows that this debate continues. Continue reading
Congratulations to Judge Byron Williams, Criminal District Court Section G, who took the bench for the first time this morning. As the newest CDC Judge, he’ll be presiding over one of the attic courtrooms (with Sections A, F, and L also playing a game of musical chairs). Judge Williams was apparently eager to get started, beginning Court this morning at 8:15 on the dot. Continue reading
Friends and Supporters,
None of us want to return to the time when local government was ignored, unaccountable, and often ineffective.
Fortunately, since 2007 Court Watch NOLA’s vigilance has made New Orleans’ criminal courts more timely, professional, and efficient. The courtroom presence of CWN’s dedicated volunteers forces judges to start court on time, encourages professionalism, and saves taxpayers time and money by significantly reducing courthouse delays. These are factors that help ensure a transparent and fair system for everyone — victims, witnesses, defendants, family members, testifying police officers, and jurors. Continue reading