Radio Interview with Executive Director Simone Levine

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.”

Court Watch NOLA hires a new Executive Director

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.

 

Support CWN on May 5 / GiveNOLA Day

2015 Give NOLA Day Logo

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,

Brad Cousins
Executive Director

 

Is N.O. Still “Among the Worst” for Brady Violations?

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

CWN Welcomes Judge Williams to Criminal District Court

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

A Remarkable Year

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

Judicial Runoffs on Saturday, Dec. 6!

Saturday is election day, so don’t forget to vote! In addition to the U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission races, Orleans Parish will vote on two judicial races. So now’s the time to do your research: Janet Ahern and Monique Barial are facing off for a family court judgeship, while Freddie Charbonnet and Desiree Cook-Calvin are competing for a juvenile court seat. Mr. Charbonnet and Ms. Cook-Calvin both participated in the Judicial Candidates Forum co-sponsored by Court Watch NOLA in October, so check it out on YouTube to learn more about them. 

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Criminal Justice Budgeting Season: Something’s Gotta Give

It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – when criminal justice leaders hope that the Mayor and City Council will leave a blank check in each of their stockings. Now that the city budget has stabilized after years of deficits, virtually every single criminal justice agency is begging for more money than the Mayor is proposing. Here’s the list (the dollar amount is not their total budget – it’s how much more they want over and above what the Mayor is proposing):

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