Our community organizing and power building model, Court Watch LA, promotes accountability and transparency in the judicial system. We train and empower Court Watchers to observe judicial behavior in courtrooms by collecting data and reporting their findings to the public. Additionally, Court Watch seeks to raise awareness about the criminalization of poverty and homelessness, including fines, fees, and predatory bail-setting practices.
Court Watch LA aims to shed light on the disparate treatment and punishment of marginalized groups such as Black, Indigenous, and Latine communities, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other marginalized Angelenos. We also cast light onto any influence from law enforcement and prosecutors and hold them accountable for promoting mass incarceration and criminalization. Our community organizing models support organizing efforts inside and outside the courtroom to limit the reach of the criminal legal system and dismantle the carceral state.
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Disclaimer: We believe in fostering a safe and supportive environment for all individuals who choose to engage in our program. However, it is important to acknowledge that there may be inherent risks associated with participation, including the possibility of arrest. While we strive to conduct our endeavors lawfully and ethically, the nature of Court Watching involves challenging the status quo. We do not condone behaviors that would lead to arrest and ask participants to adhere to La Defensa's arrest protocol.