Court Watch NOLA is proud to announce its new and expanded mission statement: Court Watch NOLA is dedicated to promoting greater efficiency, transparency, and procedural fairness in Louisiana criminal courts through citizen involvement and courtroom observation.
CWN’s new focus on procedural fairness – in addition to efficiency and transparency, our traditional areas of concern – is the result of extensive research into judicial and court monitoring best practices, and promotes both public satisfaction with the court system and public safety.
The key elements of procedural fairness – “voice (allowing litigants to be heard), neutrality (making decisions based on neutral, transparent principles), respectful treatment, and trust (the perception that the judge is sincere and caring)” – not only can increase public satisfaction with criminal courts, but have also been proven to reduce recidivism and increase compliance with court orders. According to the American Association of Judges, “Procedural fairness is THE critical element in public perception and satisfaction with the court system.”
Court Watch NOLA volunteers are therefore being trained to watch for best-practice-based indicators of efficiency, transparency, and procedural fairness in the courtroom, and CWN reports, starting with our 2014 Report, will include extensive information on this important topic.
 Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction, Am. Judges Ass’n White Paper at 3 (Sep. 26, 2007), attached as Ex. A.
 Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction, Am. Judges Ass’n White Paper at 7 (Sep. 26, 2007), attached as Ex. A; Berman and Gold, Procedural Justice from the Bench: How Judges Can Improve the Effectiveness of Criminal Courts, The Judges Journal, Vol. 51, No. 2 at 22, attached as Ex. C; Lee, C.G., F. Cheesman, D. Rottman, R. Swaner, S. Lambson, M. Rempel & R. Curtis (2013) A Community Court Grows in Brooklyn: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts at 178 (available at http://www.courtinnovation.org/research/community-court-grows-brooklyn-comprehensive-evaluation-red-hook-community-justice-center-f ).
 Burke and Leben, Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction at 5, American Judges Association, 2007 (emphasis original).