The Lens reported on the Louisiana State Supreme Court’s ruling on new standards for drug courts in response to Court Watch NOLA’s finding that methods for drug testing were not aligned with scientific best practice.
Think 504 recommended Court Watch NOLA as a primary avenue to get involved with criminal justice reform in New Orleans.
Antigravity interviewed Director Simone Levine about the history and current work of Court Watch NOLA.
The American Bar Association reported on Court Watch NOLA’s finding that Criminal Court Judge Paul Bonin was requiring defendants to use the ankle monitors produced by a company that had funded Bonin’s campaign.
The Crime Report reported on Court Watch NOLA’s finding that Criminal Court Judge Paul Bonin had been requiring that defendants use the ankle monitors of a specific company that had contributed to Bonin’s own campaign.
WDSU News reported on Court Watch NOLA’s discovery that Judge Paul Bonin was requiring that defendants utilize the ankle monitors of a company that had contributed to Bonin’s campaign.
Fox 8 News reported on Court Watch NOLA’s finding that most continuances in Criminal District Court occur as a result of failures on the part of the sheriff’s office to bring those defendants to court.
The Lens reported on the finding in Court Watch NOLA’s 2019 report that Criminal District Court drug testing procedure was not in alignment with best practice in the scientific community, allowing for convictions to be based on false positives.
Director Simone Levine and Deputy Director Veronica Bard are interviewed on WWL Radio about the release of Court Watch NOLA’s 2019 report.
The Lens reported on findings in Court Watch NOLA’s 2019 report that documented how often the DA’s office threatened to use the habitual offender law as a means of coercing a guilty plea from defendants.
The Daily Comet reported on Louisiana Senators’ unanimous vote to restrict prosecutors’ ability to jail fragile victims (such as victims of sexual assault), a decision made in response to data collected and reported on in Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report.
The Advocate reported on legislation passed in the senate that restricted the use of ‘material witness warrants’, after data brought to light in Court Watch NOLA reports showed that such warrants had allowed victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to be jailed as a result of their unwillingness to testify in cases that they had been victims of.
The Advocate reported on the decision of the Louisiana Senate to restrict prosecutors’ ability to utilize material witness warrants, after findings in Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report showed that at least two crime victims had been jailed as a means of eliciting their testimonies.
Court Watch NOLA’s discovery of the DA office’s jailing of victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence as a means of securing their testimony and the debate over state legislation responding to this revelation, was reported on in The Mary Sue.
The Bayou Brief reported on a proposed bill that would limit the use of material witness warrants, citing evidence collected by Court Watch NOLA in the 2016 report.
Nola.com reported on the resistance of Louisiana district attorneys to a new bill that would limit the use of material witness warrants, after findings came to light from Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report, which showed that these warrants had been used to jail victims who were unwilling to testify.
Nola.com reported on the damaging effects of court delays on victims, citing data collected in Court Watch NOLA’s 2014 report.
The Lens reported on data from Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report, which found that the District Attorney’s Office had been using material witness warrants to jail victims of crimes for refusing to testify in cases in which they were the victim.
The Daily Memphian reports on a local Court Watch chapter starting in Memphis.
WDSU News reported on conflict between the District Attorney’s Office and City Council regarding the DA’s use of material witness warrants to jail victims who were unwilling to testify in their abusers’ cases, evidence of which came to light as the result of Court Watch NOLA reports.
4WWL reported on Court Watch NOLA’s condemnation of material witness arrests in our 2017 report.
WWL reported on a resolution being discussed in the New Orleans City Counsel that would request that the District Attorney’s Office end its practice of jailing domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors who were unwilling to testify in their abusers’ cases, citing evidence of this practice found in Court Watch NOLA reports.
Nola.com reported on a City Council resolution that responds to Court Watch NOLA’s finding that the District Attorney’s Office had used material witness warrants to jail victims of crimes for refusing to testify in trials.
Nola.com reported on City Council member comments regarding the District Attorney’s Office practice of jailing victims of crimes who were unwilling to testify, a practice first brought to light in Court Watch NOLA reports.
Fox 8 News reported on a New Orleans City Counsel resolution that would prevent lawyers from jailing victims of abuse who were unwilling to testify in their abusers’ cases, acknowledging that widespread attention to this issue was instigated by information that came to light in Court Watch NOLA reports.
Nola.com reported on Court Watch NOLA’s fifth annual Lynne and Jerome Goldman Criminal Justice Reform Awards reception.
Nola.com reported on an amendment passed in 61 of 64 parishes that will require a unanimous jury in order for any felony charge to result in a conviction, citing the support of the amendment by the Unanimous Jury Coalition, a coalition lead by Norris Henderson and which Court Watch NOLA was an active member of.
USA Today cited Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report, which found that 57% of felony trials lacked both eye witness testimony and physical evidence.
The Advocate reported about Court Watch NOLA’s report on lack of interpreters in court proceedings.
Louisiana Radio Network “Lavine [sic.] says fears of surveillance are having a chilling effect on defendant’s openness with their defenders, specifically in Orleans Parish, which she says has the worst rate of wrongful convictions in the nation.”
Court Watch NOLA noted as “Criminal Watch Dog” by Fox 8 Local First.
The Times Picayune reported on CWN’s latest report and its revelation of attorney-client recorded calls.
Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 report was cited by The Gambit in its discussion of bail bonds and incarceration of people who cannot afford to pay.
The Gambit reported on CWN’s report and the lack of interpreters in court proceedings and the recording of attorney-client privileged calls.
New Orleans Times Picayune says “Attorney-Client calls should be private even in jail” based on Court Watch NOLA’s 2017 report.
WWL TV’s Newell Normand was joined by Simone Levine and Veronica Bard of Court Watch NOLA to talk about NOPD arrest statistics, district attorney subpoenas, and witness intimidation.
Several media outlets reported on CWN’s findings released in its latest report. Clyde Hughes reports through Newsmax, New Orleans jail recordings of phone conversations between suspects and their attorneys are being called into question, but the district attorney has defended the practice, calling it “fair game” since parties are told the calls could be monitored. Above The Law’s Elie Mystal says, “I’m not an expert in the Napoleonic Code, but this should be entirely illegal” about prosecutors listening in on inmates’ phone calls with their attorneys. Also reporting on CWN’s latest report was Eileen Fleming of 89.9WWNO, Kia M. Smith of The Grio, Matt Sledge of The New Orleans Advocate, and Richard A. Oppel Jr. of The New York Times reported on violation of calls.
Heather Nolan of the New Orleans Times Picayune reported defendants often plead guilty without attorneys present. Fox 8 Local First cited data on material witness warrants and attorney-client privileged call violations from CWN’s recent report. WGNO’s Web Desk wrote, “Court Watch NOLA says attorney-client calls are recorded at Orleans Parish Jail.”
Robert Morris with Uptown Messenger quoted Simone Levine saying, “The criminal justice system affects all of us. We pay for it through our taxes, we go to the polls to elect people to run it and then we often try to close our eyes to ignore it the rest of the year.”
Orissa Arend of the Tribune interviewed a new incoming Court Watcher who shares her experience with Court Watch NOLA’s program.
Emily Lane of Nola.com/Times Picayune cited CWN’s 2016 annual report in her article entitled, “2 residents want criminal probe into Orleans DA’s tactics; office calls similar claims ‘meritless.’”
The Marshall Project news article The Prosecutors “Court Watch NYC is the latest local group monitoring the criminal justice system as it happens.
Orissa Orend with The New Orleans Tribune reports on Court Watch NOLA | Watchful Eyes in the Court Room.
Lamar White Jr. with The Bayou Brief whereas CWN’s Executive Director Simone Levine was mentioned because of her participation on a panel on Criminal Justice Reform in Louisiana.
Marie Simoneaux of Nola.com/Times Picayune reported ‘I saw him shoot her’: Reluctant witness testifies in murder trial. This article shed light on material witness warrants that the Orleans Parish DA’s Office has been doing.
Laura McNight of Nola.com/Times Picayune reported about material witness warrants, in this case signed by Orleans Criminal District Judge Darryl Derbigny, are a tactic used by the District Attorney’s office to secure testimony from uncooperative witnesses.
Court Watch NOLA was noted as one of the few organizations shedding light on the broken justice system in an article written by Cara Romanik of The Lens.
WWNO 89.9 FM reported on Court Watch NOLA’s Lynne and Jerome Goldman Criminal Justice Reform award recipient Governor John Bel Edwards’s speech on the importance of funding criminal justice reform.
To discuss Court Watch NOLA’s State of Magistrate Court Report, Executive Director Simone Levine and Program Director Veronica Bard appeared on WWLTV Morning News, Fox 8 Noon News, WGNO, WWNO 89.9 FM, WBOK 1230 AM’s Good Morning Show, and WWL 105.3 FM. The Lens, The New Orleans Advocate, Associated Press, Citylab, and Nola.com/Times-Picayune also wrote about CWN’s new Magistrate Court report.
Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 Annual Report was cited by The New Yorker and WWLTV and the Associated Press in conjunction with the recent filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Civil Rights Corps against the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Nola.com opinion columnist Jarvis DeBerry mentioned Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 Annual Report in conjunction with discussing New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams’s argument with Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro at a recent City Council budget hearing.
The Lens cited Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 Annual Report as the issue that sparked an argument between New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams and Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro at Wednesday’s City Council budget hearing.
Buffalo News cited Court Watch NOLA’s model of citizen court monitoring as an example to be replicated in other jurisdictions.
The Daily Comet published an editorial citing Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 annual report on its opinion that district attorneys should face repercussions for deceptive behavior.
In an article by The Lens, Executive Director Simone Levine commented on a two-year-old case of a SciTech Academy employee charged with molesting a boy that, “The longer a case drags on, the more often witnesses and evidence disappear; memories dim.”
The Louisiana Record announced that the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro to seek the names of attorneys who issued “fake subpoenas” to alleged victims of crime.
The Lens cited CWN’s 2016 Annual Report for revealing that Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office threatened an alleged victim of domestic violence with jail for refusing to testify after receiving what has been called a “fake subpoena.”
Executive Director Simone Levine and Board Chairman Matt Guy published an editorial in Nola.com/The Times-Picayune on how the District Attorney’s practice of incarcerating victims of crime compares to district attorneys in similar jurisdictions.
CityLab featured a graph and statistics from CWN’s 2016 Criminal District Court Annual Report regarding the types of prosecutorial evidence observed during trials.
CWN’s 2016 Criminal District Court Annual Report continues to be cited in support of a City Council resolution adopted to urge the District Attorney to stop the practice of incarcerating crime victims for failing to testify for the prosecution. Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Jr. also published a letter in The New Orleans Advocate in response to CWN’s report. WWLTV Channel 4, WWL Radio, Nola.com/The Times-Picayune, New Orleans Advocate, and Associated Press reported on the resolution, which passed 6-1. Two additional New Orleans Advocate articles recently cited CWN’s report, written by Victoria Coy, Executive Director of Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition, and Matt Sledge, along with Ken Daley of Nola.com/The Times-Picayune. CWN’s beloved longtime friend and criminal justice reform advocate Deborah Cotton passed away May 2, 2017, 2 days before her scathing editorial in The New York Times was published. The Times-Picayune opinion columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote about Deb’s life and her legacy, and Nola.com/The Times-Picayune, CityLab, and Color Linesalso published in response to Deb’s editorial piece. CWN’s report also made international news in BBC News. Stephanie Grace of The New Orleans Advocate, TechDirt, and Louisiana Record referenced CWN’s annual report in discussing the DA’s use of fake subpoenas to pressure victims and witnesses to cooperate with the prosecution, a practice which the Orleans Parish District Attorney has now pledged to stop. CWN’s annual report was cited by Nola.com/The Times-Picayune during a recent demonstration against the DA’s practices.
CWN’s 2016 Criminal District Court Annual Report stirred up not only local, but national and international discussion on the District Attorney’s practice of incarcerating crime victims for failing to testify for the prosecution. The ACLU of Louisiana responded to the practice in a press release. In print, The Times-Picayune Editorial Board wrote two editorial pieces, and Nola.com/Times Picayune writers Emily Lane and Ken Daley each wrote on different aspects of the report. The Huffington Post, WDSU News, New Orleans Advocate, Houma Today, Miami Herald, Raw Story, Law Newz, My San Antonio, Louisiana Weekly, Scary Mommy, Bustle, The Independent, Bustle, Carbonated.TV, The Louisiana Weekly, Gambit, Care2, Bustle, Mediation is Dead, Latest.com, K94.5FM, and Attn each wrote about CWN’s report. The Lens, which wrote two pieces, New Orleans Advocate, and The Times-Picayune later wrote two pieces about the District Attorney’s use of fake subpoenas to pressure victims and witnesses to cooperate with the prosecution, a practice which the Orleans Parish District Attorney has now pledged to stop. WGNO ABC News, Louisiana Record, Fox 8/WVUE News, and the Associated Press wrote about City Council’s subsequent response to the District Attorney’s practices and the Council’s proposed resolution to stop them. Executive Director Simone Levine and Program Director Veronica Bard had the pleasure of speaking about the report on WWLTV Channel 4’s Eyewitness Morning News, which also featured District Attorney Cannizzaro’s response to CWN’s report, WWL Radio’s Think Tank Show, and WBOK’s Good Morning Show.
The Times-Picayune Editorial Board cited Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data and Statistics Report on the number of defendants held in jail until trial in part because they couldn’t afford the bond set for them.
Court Watch NOLA was quoted by Uptown Messenger regarding the upcoming election for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
Kenneth Polite, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, submitted his resignation effective March 24. Both WGNO/ABC and WWL- AM870/FM105.3 reported that Court Watch NOLA awarded Mr. Polite with its Lynne and Jerome Goldman Criminal Justice Reform Award in 2016.
Executive Director Simone Levine and Advisory Board Member Patti Lapeyre implore Orleans residents and the criminal justice system to Stand up for Victims’ Rights in their editorial piece in The Advocate.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro mentioned to Fox 8 News that his office provides Court Watch NOLA data and statistics in the context of a budget dispute with City Council.
Along with Norris Henderson, Executive Director of VOTE, Court Watch NOLA’s Simone Levine spent the evening discussing the criminal justice system on 1230 AM WBOK Radio’s new Mass Incarceration Show with Nia Weeks.
Court Watch NOLA commented on the ongoing contempt dispute between Chief Judge Laurie White and Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli to Nola.com. Court Watch NOLA believes that transparency in the courtroom is a best practice and should always be implemented.
Executive Director Simone Levine was quoted by The Advocate as saying that the speedy trial of Cardell Hayes for the killing of former NFL star Will Smith is an example of how we should be proceeding with the docket in every courtroom.
The Advocate published a beautiful photo of Executive Director Simone Levine with U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, Jr. and philanthropist Frank Stewart, Jr. of Stewart Capital from Court Watch NOLA’s 2016 Lynne and Jerome Goldman Criminal Justice Reform Awards Reception held at the home of Patti and Robert Lapeyre.
Both The Advocate and Nola.com published statements regarding Court Watch NOLA’s disappointment in the lack of transparency of Judge Camille Buras’s decision to close her courtroom from the public, including volunteer court watchers and the media, for jury selection in the trial of Cardell Hayes, who is accused of murder of former NFL player Will Smith, attempted murder of Smith’s wife, and aggravated criminal damage to property.
Today, Court Watch NOLA took an exciting new step by adding the Municipal Court of New Orleans onto the list of courts the organization monitors. This news was featured on Nola.com and WDSU, and Court Watch NOLA staff members Simone Levine, Lerin Amos, and Veronica Bard discussed the news on 1230 AM WBOK Radio’s The Grapevine Show with Rachel Graham and Dr. Charles Corprew.
Uptown Messenger writes about a panel discussion that Executive Director Simone Levine participated in last night: “Criminal Justice: what does a fair system look like?” hosted by Press Club of New Orleans and Tulane University’s Criminal Law Clinic. Additionally, Nola.com’s Editorial Board cites the number of individuals who were jailed for failing to appear to pay fines and fees; the percentage of defendants who remained jailed in part because they could not afford bail; and the number of defendants who spent more than 35 days in jail because they could not bond out from Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data & Statistics report.
Court Watch NOLA made a guest appearance on The Good Morning Show at WBOK 1230AM.
Court Watch NOLA commented to Nola.com about its concern that criminal evidence is still being kept in the basement of Criminal District Court, despite the tragedy of lost evidence during Katrina being washed away while stored in the basement.
Court Watch NOLA had a great time reaching out to listeners of the Grapevine Radio Show on WBOK 1230AM!
Veronica Lam, Program Coordinator of Court Watch NOLA, commented on whether arrest warrants are public record in Louisiana regarding a double murder case. The Advocate article can be found here. Executive Director Simone Levine is interviewed on Fox 8 News about the production of inmates incarcerated pretrial and the reopening of the “docks” prisoner transport facility. The Louisiana Weekly also wrote on the topic on 10/26/15.
Court Watch NOLA comments on the sheriff’s difficulties in producing inmates incarcerated pretrial with the opening of the new Orleans Parish Prison. The Advocate reports.
Court Watch NOLA made comment on the the Orleans Public Defenders’ funding problem and its impact on court efficiency and procedural fairness. See the nola.com article here.
Simone Levine joins Adrienne Wheeler, Executive Director of the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, for WHIV LP 102.3 FM’s JAC Radio Hour.
Court Watch NOLA hired a new executive director in August. 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. Check out the announcement in nola.com. The news made the regional press and the national press as well.
In case you missed the recent Judicial Candidates Forum, which was co-sponsored by Court Watch NOLA and other community organizations (or simply want to relive the excitement by seeing it again!), watch it now on WYES’ YouTube channel.
We had a great time talking about Court Watch NOLA’s new report on the Angela Hill show yesterday with Melanie Talia of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. Catch up on the conversation here. CWN’s Executive Director was also featured on The Lens’ “Breakfast with the Newsmakers,” where he discussed the Report and the importance of educating the public about judicial elections.
Court Watch NOLA’s Executive Director and volunteers were featured in WYES’ new Reshaping a Greater New Orleans: Criminal Justice special on the upcoming November judicial elections, which premiered October 2 and will be rerun on WYES throughout October. WWNO had a companion radio piece, too. Be sure to check it out!
Former Tulane President Scott Cowen’s recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed (unformatted pdf) includes a shout-out to Court Watch NOLA! Cowen attributes the revitalization of New Orleans to its citizen activists from groups like CWN, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, and the Metropolitan Crime Commission. To all of our volunteers, this means you! Thank you so much for your hard work over the past seven years.
Court Watch NOLA’s 2013 Report is getting a lot of media buzz, including from The New Orleans Advocate, nola.com / The Times-Picayune, FOX 8 WVUE, and the Mid-City Messenger. You can also listen to Angela Hill’s coverage, and check out video footage of CWN’s Executive Director on “The Hot Seat” with Norman Robinson, as well as WWL’s discussion with District Attorney Cannizzaro in the following clip (at the four minute mark):
This Letter to the Editor, written in February of 2011 by the Executive Director of Court Watch, explains how judges have been willing to change for the better, in part due to the work of Court Watch, and how this improvement impacts positively the efficiency of our legal system.
This Times-Picayune Article, published in 2010, discusses how Court Watch NOLA increases accountability of Criminal Court judges and demonstrates the real impact Court Watch has on our Criminal Justice System.
This 2008 Times-Picayune Article showcases two outstanding Court Watchers, highlighting their superior work.