Court watchers process:

  1. Determine the scope of the program: Decide which court(s) to monitor, what types of cases to observe, and which issues to focus on.
  2. Recruit volunteers: Recruit volunteers who are interested in court monitoring and are willing to commit to a regular schedule.
  3. Train volunteers: Train volunteers on legal procedures, courtroom etiquette, and how to take accurate notes during court proceedings.
  4. Develop a monitoring tool: Develop a monitoring tool that includes the information to be collected, such as the date, time, judge’s name, case number, and key observations.
  5. Schedule court observations: Schedule volunteers to observe court proceedings on a regular basis and assign them to specific courtrooms.
  6. Monitor court proceedings: Volunteers should observe court proceedings while following ethical guidelines and standards for court monitoring. They should take accurate notes and record any issues or concerns.
  7. Collect data: Collect data from court observations and compile them into a database or report.
  8. Analyze the data: Analyze the data to identify trends, issues, and concerns.
  9. Share findings: Share the findings with relevant stakeholders, such as the court administration, the bar association, and the public.
  10. Advocate for change: Use the findings to advocate for changes in court procedures or policies to ensure that justice is being served and the court is functioning in accordance with the law.
  11. Evaluate the program: Evaluate the program regularly to ensure that it is achieving its goals and making a positive impact. Make adjustments as necessary to improve the program.

Additional information for court watching:

  1. Threatens Judicial Independence
  2. Nothing More Than a “Gotcha” Game
  3. Is Inherently Misguided Because Courts Have Little Control of Outcomes
  4. Uniqueness of Our Court Defies Observation by Outsiders (There’s No Way to Understand What We Do)
  5. Is an Invitation to Unfavorable and Unfair Comparisons
  6. Reports will Be Misused
  7. Results Will Be Used to Hurt, Not Help
  8. Is Good for Problem Diagnosis But Not Cure
  9. Is Too Expensive
  10. Could Vulgarize Jurisprudence

PDf of an article from Steven Crowder’s divorce trial that had court watchers as an example of what can be done with court watching (and issues court watchers may face).

Links/work for laws regarding judicial campaign fairness

Judicial campaign fairness

updated 6/2019 campaign

ethics page

Campaign requirements

article on issues with financing judges

article with some data