Court Monitors are staff who are physically present in the courtroom on a regular basis. They receive training to observe and document what happens during impaired and reckless driving proceedings. Court monitors track results and identify inconsistencies from courthouse to courthouse.The regular presence of monitors reminds all justice system personnel, including judges, attorneys, clerks and administrative personnel, that they are accountable to the public and that the public is interested in what happens in DUI and reckless driving courtroom cases.
Make a Difference
The goals of court monitoring are:
• To hold the justice system accountable for its actions by maintaining a public presence in the courts
• To identify problematic patterns and concerns with the court system as well as to propose
• To improve the administration of justice
• To increase public awareness of and public trust in the justice system
Studies have shown that when court monitors are present there is a different demeanor in the courtroom, which can have a positive effect on sentencing.
AAIM Court monitoring requirements:
• Complete our application, interview, and vetting process
• Complete 3 months of paid training and probation at their assigned courthouse
• Work a minimum of 16hrs a week
• Have a genuine interest in impaired, distracted, and reckless driving
• Always maintain a respectful, professional, fair, and impartial demeanor
How court monitoring works:
AAIM Court monitors received training in the criminal justice processes, courtroom decorum and monitoring goals. They monitor court appearances for impaired and reckless driving cases
• All monitors wear an AAIM badge so that they will be recognized by court staff. Monitors are trained to watch for and note such things as the following: judicial demeanor, the use of inappropriate humor, timeliness, audibility, acknowledgement of and sensitivity of fair treatment of all who attend court, clarity of explanations given by judges and attorneys, and disruptions in the courtroom. For specific hearings, staff are asked to note particular rulings, comments and data that are outlined on monitoring forms tailored to that hearing
• Monitor notes are reviewed by AAIM Court Monitor Director, who follow up with appropriate personnel, including judges, attorneys, advocates and probation officers. This follow-up may be to investigate a case further or to comment on the case, either complimenting judge or other system personnel or pointing out a problem with the way the case was handled. Monitoring agency staff may review court records and files to obtain information about individual cases or patterns and trends in the justice system
• AAIM may publicize the results of cases through newsletters or through the media to promote public awareness of these cases and their impact on society
• Monitors focus on Impaired and reckless driving cases. In many jurisdictions, justice systems have traditionally failed to take DUI and reckless driving, particularly distracted driving, crimes seriously. Cases of such as these need to be prioritized in order to improve the justice system’s response and thereby promote victim safety and ensure offender accountability
What you can do to help
As a court monitor, you can help continue this vital challenging work. Because this program examines the courts from the “Ordinary” citizen perspective, court monitors do not need a legal background. The program welcomes men and women, senior citizens and college students, part-time or full-time workers – people who genuinely care about traffic safety and saving lives.
AAIM currently is monitoring court in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry Will and Winnebago Counties. And in Cook County at the Daley Center, Maywood, Rolling Meadows and Skokie.
If you are interested in volunteering to court monitor contact 847-240-0027
THE IMPACT ON LIVES: