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NCJ Number: 92380 Find in a Library
Title: Citizens Look at Their Courts, 1981-1982
Corporate Author: Cook Cty Court Watching Project, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Cook Cty Court Watching Project, Inc
Chicago, IL 60603
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data from over 100 trained volunteers who monitored 74 courtrooms in Cook County's Criminal Court Division (Illinois) from July 1981 through June 1982 provide the basis for recommendations to alleviate or resolve problems facing court users.
Abstract: Major targets for immediate change are discouraging solicitation by lawyers, identifying repeat Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) offenders, speeding up delivery of prisoners, making better use of personnel and facilities, giving defendants reminders of future court dates, better preparation by assistant State's attorneys, and the Chicago Bar Association establishing strict standards for appointing attorneys to its In-Court Lawyer Referral Program. The court watching project also undertook four special studies on priority felony cases, Chicago's 11th and State Courts, Gun Court, and DUI prosecutions. It found that Cook County Circuit Court Rule 15 designed to reduce delays in felony prosecutions was not working as intended. The dilapidated physical condition and casual manner in which justice is administered in the 11th and State Courts had improved slightly. Monitors in these courts and in Gun Court reported disparities among judges' handling of cases, a shortage of judges, and lawyer 'hustlers.' Monitors also found more than 80 percent of the DUI guilty defendants being given supervision instead of license revocation because of a legal loophole. Other problems noted by monitors in all courts included the brevity of court days, excessive granting of continuances, rude and erratic behavior observed in a few judges, lack of uniform procedures for plea bargaining, inaudibility of court proceedings, and poor court facilities. Tables, a list of the courts monitored, monitoring forms, and financial statements of the court watching project are supplied.
Index Term(s): Citizen court watching; Court reform; Court volunteers; Illinois
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