Watchdog group releases criminal court report card

Watchdog group releases criminal court report card

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Criminal Court received its annual report card Tuesday.

Court Watch Nola is a watchdog group that overviews the effectiveness and fairness of criminal court.

The report card has a handful of recommendations for judges, jailers, and the court itself.

Among the largest recommendations is a request that the district attorney's office discontinue the practice of jailing domestic violence and sex crime victims who refuse to testify.

Court Watch Nola issued a similar recommendation last year. The D.A.'s office did not create a policy barring it, but far fewer victims were jailed. According to the report, no sex crime victims were jailed for failing to testify.

The report card also focused on judge timeliness, saying in more than 50 percent of observations judges were up to thirty minutes late to the bench.

Court Watch Nola said tardiness is a disservice to the community, and keeps police officers who are in court to testify off the streets longer than they need to be.

Another recommendation looked into recordings made by jailers during phone calls between attorneys and their clients.

Court Watch Nola said the jail won't record attorney client calls made on a landline, but they said calls made to a cell phone are still recorded. The group said this is a violation of the constitution.

Court Watch Nola will formally release the full report Tuesday morning.

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