Check out Court Watch NOLA’s home page blog for more updates.
10/1: 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.
9/21: 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.
8/17: Buffalo News cited Court Watch NOLA’s model of citizen court monitoring as an example to be replicated in other jurisdictions.
8/7: 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.
7/18: 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.”
6/25: 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.
6/14: The Lens cited CWN’s 2016 Annual Report revealed 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.”
6/11: 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.
6/9: CityLab featured a graph and statistics from CWN’s 2016 Criminal District Court Annual Report regarding the types of prosecutorial evidence observed during trials.
May: 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 Lines also 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.
April: 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.
3/31: 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.
3/16: Court Watch NOLA was quoted by Uptown Messenger regarding the upcoming election for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
3/10: 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.
3/7: 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.
1/25: 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.
1/23: 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.
1/17: 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.
12/24: 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.
12/21: 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.
12/5: 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.
11/21: 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.
11/18: 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.
11/14: Executive Director Simone Levine spent the afternoon discussing the judicial runoff candidates for Criminal District Court on 1230 AM WBOK Radio’s The Grapevine Show with Gralen Bryant Banks and Rachel Graham. Levine was also quoted by Nola.com, discussing the role that the Department of Justice plays in the New Orleans criminal justice system and what the upcoming Trump administration will mean for New Orleans.
10/21: Simone Levine spoke about transparency among public servants on WWNO Public Radio in connection with the Orleans Parish Judicial Candidate Forum and Criminal District Court candidates Judge Paul Bonin, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Guillory, and Defense Attorney Dennis Moore.
10/11: Nola.com reported on the Orleans Parish Judicial Candidate Forum presented by Court Watch NOLA along with Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, V.O.T.E., League of Women Voters of New Orleans, National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section, Urban League of Greater New Orleans, and National Council of 100 Black Women.
9/25: Court Watch NOLA’s new Volunteer Coordinator Lerin Amos was featured by The Baton Rouge Advocate this weekend.
9/21: James Gill of The New Orleans Advocate discussed the racial imbalance of the criminal justice system based in part on information from Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data & Statistics Report.
9/20: Did you hear Simone Levine and Veronica Bard discussing Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data & Statistics Report this morning with WBOK 1230 AM’s host Oliver Thomas on the Good Morning Show? CWN’s report was also featured on WWNO 89.9 New Orleans Public Radio’s GNO Info Minute by Chris Reade.
9/19: Simone Levine and Veronica Bard discussed the criminal justice system and Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data & Statistics Report on WWL Radio’s Think Tank show with Garland Robinette.
9/16: The Editorial Board of Nola.com/Times Picayune published a scathing article about the economics of the criminal justice system based in part from information in Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 Data & Statistics Report.
9/14: Court Watch NOLA’s newly published 2015 Data & Statistics Report has gotten everyone talking! Simone Levine and Veronica Bard discussed the report on WWL-TV Eyewitness News and WBOK radio’s The Grapevine Show with Gralen Bryant Banks and Rachel Graham. The report was also featured on Fox 8 News/WVUE New Orleans, and The New Orleans Advocate, Nola.com, and Associated Press each published articles on what the numbers mean to our community.
7/15: Court Watch NOLA’s 2015 annual report, including its recommendations regarding criminal evidence in the basement and elevator access issues, were mentioned on WBOK radio’s The Grapevine Show by Steven Beattie, reporter from The Lens. Thanks, Steven!
5/16: Court Watch NOLA’s new monitoring of Magistrate Court was featured by Nola.com, the New Orleans Advocate, Associated Press, and WDSU News. Simone Levine and Veronica Bard discussed the exciting news on WBOK radio’s The Grapevine Show with Gralen Bryant Banks and Janae Pierre.
5/10: Simone Levine and Veronica Bard of Court Watch NOLA appeared this morning on WBOK radio’s The Grapevine Show with Gralen Bryant Banks and Janae Pierre.
5/5: Simone Levine and Veronica Bard of Court Watch NOLA appeared this morning on WBOK radio’s Good Morning Show with OT.
5/2: Simone Levine spoke on WWL Radio about the exciting upcoming release of CWN’s 2015 Annual Report.
4/29: Stephanie Grace of The New Orleans Advocate mentioned Court Watch NOLA’s upcoming 2015 annual report and its emphasis that criminal case evidence is still being stored in the basement of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on WYES. (Timestamp 27:46 on this video).
4/28: A 4-year-old attempted murder case finally came to a close with a 12-year sentence. Both the victim and Court Watch NOLA cited a culture of continuances at fault for the lengthy path to justice.
4/8: Court Watch expressed its concern for balancing public safety with defendants’ constitutional rights.
3/31: Asked to comment on the ongoing dilemma posed by the underfunding of the Public Defender’s Office, Executive Director Simone Levine calls attention to the role of the State legislature.
2/1: Did you catch Court Watch NOLA on Fox 8 news tonight? Executive Director Simone Levine commented on the Public Defender’s inability to represent indigent defendants due to its budget shortfall. Here is the write-up.
1/28: Court Watch NOLA’s 2014 Data and Statistics were cited by Nola.com on the Public Defender’s number of defendants incarcerated pre-trial and the District Attorney’s number of felony cases closed by guilty plea.
1/7: Court Watch NOLA was quoted in an online article regarding Judge Frank Marullo’s retirement from the bench.
11/6: Court Watch NOLA made a guest appearance on The Good Morning Show at WBOK 1230AM.
10/30: 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.
10/27: Court Watch NOLA had a great time reaching out to listeners of the Grapevine Radio Show on WBOK 1230AM!
10/22: 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.
9/18: 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.
9/11: 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.
9/9: Simone Levine joins Adrienne Wheeler, Executive Director of the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, for WHIV LP 102.3 FM’s JAC Radio Hour.
8/17: 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.