What is Courtroom Monitoring?
We’re glad you have shown interest in this crucial part of our work.
Court monitoring is observing court proceedings systematically to record what happens. Often our observations will be made public and enhance our ability to respond to discrimination and violence as well as provide the survivors with comfort and support.
Our program creates visibility and community accountability. It shows defendants, those who have harmed us, that we are paying attention and that we aren’t going away.
We show those who harm us as well as the judge, the jury (if there is one), and the defense attorney(s) that we are watching. AND that we will hold them accountable, even publicly.
An attack inspired by hate is against the LGBTQIA community is an attack on all of us.
Our documentation can become an important part of judicial reform, lobbying efforts, media relations and public accountability efforts, and community education campaigns.
Courtroom Monitoring is in fact a major program at The OutJustice Foundation – one of our first.
Many survivors of discrimination and hate, whether violent attacks, bullying, threats, or even vandalism with hateful messages or to “send a message” don’t know what to expect if and when their cases reach a courtroom. Some jurisdictions have LGBTQ or LGBT liaisons who serve to assist survivors or victims’ families with what to expect, what is expected of them, and walk them through the process. Even in the best of situations, though, sometimes this process is still confusing and alarming.
In fact, many times the individuals targeted never get to meet with a liaison until the day of court itself with mere minutes prior to the judge entering the courtroom. This is an unnerving scenario for even the most prepared among us.
The OutJustice Foundation strives to reduce this uncertainty and discomfort. As it is, in order to have such a court hearing the individuals targeted by hateful actions may be facing their attackers or other persons who threatened the personal safety of not only our clients and others who find themselves entering the criminal legal system as a “victim,” the criminals we are facing are there with their families and supporters.
And we can and want to be there with you and for you and your families and communities.
The OutJustice Foundation, even in conjunction with our colleagues from other organizations providing some assistance, will stand by you and help you know what to do and when. We’ll support you quietly but firmly and we can be as blended with the crowd as you’d like, or we could wear t-shirts identifying ourselves when the circumstances call for such visibility.
We’ll be there for you. And we’ll be there for the time it takes to get your case resolved and beyond.
Let Us Help You
Though we are headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, we are here to assist you regardless of where you live. With decades of combined grassroots activism under our belts and trained in a trauma-informed method, we can help.
Or, if your court date is extremely soon, such as the following day, call (757) 598-4363 right away and ask to speak with a representative from The OutJustice Foundation for more timely court hearings.
Want to help others in our court monitoring efforts? No matter where you live, you can help.
In the Courtroom:
If you’ve never been in a courtroom, or perhaps have seen some unpleasantness in one, here are some tips about courtroom advocacy. It also spells out what we expect of our courtroom advocates.
Remember, you represent not only The OutJustice Foundation when with us, but the individual(s) you are there to support. Dress and present yourself accordingly. Give them your best.
- Click here to learn What to Expect in the Courtroom.
Contact us if you have questions about our guidelines or want more information about courtroom advocacy.
Periodically we hold workshops on courtroom monitoring.
In Chicago, we can schedule a training even if one isn’t already on our calendar.
Anywhere else, with technology today we are capable of sharing our experience and best practices with you no matter where you are. And we can guide you in grassroots organizing. We’ll even, when possible, assist you on the ground in your community.
Contact us if you’d like to be added to the list for an upcoming workshop, schedule a workshop via teleconference, or book a trainer to visit your community.