Our History: Court Watch NOLA
The daily and visible presence of court watchers' bright yellow clipboards and brightly colored identification cards loudly broadcasts to criminal justice actors that they are being watched and that New Orleanians demand that their courts are accountable, transparent, and just.
Operating in New Orleans
Court Watch NOLA was founded in 2007 by the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, Common Good, and Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans as a grassroots volunteer effort to bring greater transparency and efficiency to our criminal courts. Over the past 14 years, Court Watch NOLA has recruited, educated, trained, and supported more than a thousand volunteers in observing and reporting on whether our judges, prosecutors, public defenders, sheriff deputies, police officers, and other criminal justice actors are doing their jobs professionally, transparently, fairly, and economically.
To promote reform in the Orleans Parish criminal court system through civic engagement and courtroom observation
- To empower individuals through legal education to demand transparency and accountability of public officials
- To increase public confidence in the Orleans Parish criminal courts
- To increase criminal justice efficiency
- To examine aggregate trends in the Orleans Parish criminal courts
- To expand our volunteer base to reflect the diversity of all New Orleanian communities
- To act as an objective agent to institute best practices in criminal justice
- For more on Court Watch NOLA's history, see this link.