Working with community partners—including Youth Justice Coalition, Ground Game LA, ACLU of Southern California, as well as criminal defense attorneys—NLG-LA trains court watchers and brings them into criminal courts throughout Los Angeles to observe and report about proceedings.
The purpose of Court Watch LA to monitor and expose exorbitant fines and fees, criminalization of poverty/homelessness, as well as disparate impacts of criminal punishments on communities of color.
Goals of Court Watch LA:
- To create accountability & transparency by bringing people into the courtroom to observe, report out, and collect data about the behavior of public officials in court.
- To raise awareness about the absurdity and harms of using fines and fees to punish poverty.
- To raise awareness about the injustices of the bail system.
- To expose the disparate punishment of communities of color.
- To hold law enforcement and elected officials accountable to public commitments, laws, and settlement agreements that call on them to refrain from excessive criminalization.
- To support and connect with organizing efforts outside the courtroom to limit the reach of the criminal system.