Steeg Law is delighted to raise awareness for Court Watch NOLA (CWN). The organization, which is strictly nonpartisan and does not make candidate endorsements, promotes greater efficiency, transparency and procedural fairness in Louisiana criminal courts through citizen involvement and courtroom observation.
Zachary I. Rosenberg, an associate with the transactional department, has been a member of the Board of Directors of CWN for two years.
“I’ve found that my time as a board member has been immensely rewarding. As a resident of New Orleans, I think it is important that we understand the issues and trends that affect the New Orleans criminal courts, so that we can continue to improve the transparency and efficiency of our criminal justice system. This organization has done a terrific job over the past several years in improving procedural fairness in the courts, and I’m proud to serve on the board.”
About Court Watch NOLA
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 the criminal courts. Since then, CWN has recruited, trained, and supported volunteers in observing and reporting on whether judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other public servants are doing their jobs professionally, transparently, and without wasting taxpayer resources.
CWN volunteers track hundreds of felony cases, and their daily and visible presence in the courtroom helps identify systemic problems. Originally just 15 volunteers watching 37 cases, the organization now boasts a diverse volunteer base tracking over 1,000 felonies. A CWN staff member compiles the results of the volunteers’ observations and publishes regular reports.
Developments at Court Watch NOLA
Last August, Court Watch NOLA hired a new executive director. Simone Levine is a lawyer who has served as both a prosecutor and a public defender. She came to CWNright after serving as the Deputy Police Monitor of New Orleans in the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, where she worked for over four years.
Since joining the organization, Ms. Levine has been sitting down with a whole lot of stakeholders to find out what kind of data they want CWN to collect. Court Watch NOLAwelcomes feedback or questions from any stakeholders of the Orleans Parish criminal justice system, including the general public, judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, court personnel, sheriff deputies, department of corrections officers, victims of crimes, and New Orleans Police Department officers.
Court Watch NOLA has received a large and generous grant from Baptist Ministries to expand its monitoring activities to Orleans Municipal and Magistrate Courts, so the need for volunteers is greater than ever.
Volunteering to become a Court Watcher for the organization can be a highly rewarding experience. As Zak says, “It’s a great way to learn about the criminal justice system in New Orleans and make a difference. If you are thinking about going to law school or working in the criminal system in some capacity, I’d highly recommend volunteering at Court Watch NOLA.
Moreover, our large number of dedicated volunteers collects the vast majority of data compiled and analyzed in the Court Watch annual report. Simply put, without our volunteers, we would cease to exist as an organization.”