Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
This is a sign up sheet to observe court proceedings for prisoners whose cases CAARPR is following, due to allegations of torture, abuse or other police misconduct. Most cases are at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S California Ave, Chicago, IL
--How early to arrive at the courthouse:
Court often starts at 9 or 9:30 a.m. , sometimes at 10 or a little later. We try to indicate when court starts on the monthly list of court dates. Often it takes a while for court to begin. For example, the judge is late, the attorneys haven't arrived yet, there are other cases going on, attorneys arrive at different times.
--Details about the security screening process:
Metal will set off the buzzer. Men are asked to remove their belts and women, too, if they're wearing a belt. You take the belt off put it on the conveyor belt, go through the xray machine, and put the belt on again. Sometimes jewelry will set off the buzzer, gold goes through with no problems. Purses go through on the conveyor belt, car keys can stay in the purse.
--What to bring or NOT to bring:
Pens, pencils, notebooks go through with no problem and are helpful for taking notes in court. Cell phones can be securely checked before going into the security area. (The x-ray machine is there to recognize metal, like for knives, guns, you get the idea. )
--How much time to expect to stay:
We are often out of court by 11 or a little later, very seldom continuing into the afternoon.
--What volunteers are expected to do while they are in the courtroom:
Volunteers are expected to sit quietly while court's in session, and listen to the proceedings. Taking notes would be helpful, especially knowing when the next court date is. Also learning the judge's and attorney's names would be helpful.
--How to demonstrate support:
Sometimes we may stand up when the prisoner comes into court. We may smile and wave to the person to let him know he's not alone. At some point volunteers may want to meet the family members and let them know you are there for their son, husband, uncle, or friend. It all takes time to feel comfortable in court.
|| Lesley Williams