D.C. Courts website reverses practice of linking to articles on arrests and pending trials

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Dec 12, 2012 D.C. Courts website reverses practice of linking to articles on arrests and pending trials

On October 28, I strongly dissented from the D.C. Courts’ then practice of heavily posting links about arrests, pending trials, and trial outcomes.

The problem has now been solved. I circulated my foregoing blog entry to various colleagues after posting it, figuring that fixing the problem might be more likely and quick by my joining with others of like minds. Curiously, my blog post received the most support from members of the Trial Lawyers Association of the District of Columbia, which I had not associated as being a very activist group other than in advocating for laws and court procedures benefiting personal injury victims.

A bar leader and TLA-DC member, of his own volition, called an administrator involved with the courts website. The administrator said that news of pending cases would be removed, but a stream of news links continued about arrests (without counterbalancing links explaining the presumption of innocence and other basic rights of criminal defendants) and trial court results (despite the possibility that such cases will come back to trial if successful on appeal). Another leader in the TLA-DC spoke with an administrative judge of the Superior Court and forwarded my emailed ongoing concerns to the judge. Within short order thereafter, the courts’ website stopped posting links about arrests, pending cases, and case results. The administrative judge called me and said he agrees with my view on this, and welcomes viewpoints on other matters involving the court’s functions. Thanks deeply to the TLA-DC members who joined in the effort to fix this problem, and thanks to the administrative judge who listened and helped get the problem fixd.

It might feel invigorating to engage in efforts like Michael Moore’s to even get an audience with General Motors’ chief (never materialized) in Roger and Me, but is all the more effective when those in power actually listen, avoid ivory towers and make changes when they agree that changes are due. 

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