THE IMPACT ON LIVES
While Illinois has some of the toughest laws in the nation, we are finding inconsistencies from courthouse to courthouse in regards to interpreting the laws. AAIM often receives communications from law enforcement regarding inappropriate sentencing or demeanor by judges and prosecutors.
In order to monitor this situation, a program was developed through a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation to train volunteers and track the DUI case dispositions. Volunteers observe the court proceedings and the professionalism of judges, officers of the court and civil employees. AAIM wants to insure that court personnel treat all citizens and victims, witnesses and defendants fairly and with dignity. The presence of a court watcher in the courtroom sends a clear message to judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and court staff that the public cares about what happens and the courts are being held accountable.
A study by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) examined more than 9,000 drunk driving cases in Maine. Monitored cases resulted in more convictions, fewer dismissals, and longer jail sentences.
Court watching is instrumental in seeing how new laws are being enforced and how effective these new deterrents are going to be. The Court Monitors help hold judges and prosecutors accountable for their actions. When court watchers are present there is a different attitude in the courtroom. Law enforcement officers are grateful that citizens really care and support their job. Those dedicated people who volunteer their time to court watch do make a difference.
If you are interested in volunteering to court monitor contact 847-240-0027