Re: [MPD-5D] 5D needs our help now!!
- Thanks Debbie for supporting Court Watch. We have an unprecedented opportunity to help close the revolving door on repeat offenders. The police make numerous arrests, yet the same people continue to plague our neighborhoods with reckless criminal acts. We can make a difference by writing community impact statements anonymously. Tell the judges how a defendant's crimes make you feel and recommend sentencing. This is our chance to be heard.The next Court watch meeting is May 11, 2010 and our guests will be U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Councilmember Phil Mendelson. The meeting time and location are the Fifth District at 6:30 to 8 p.m. Do not miss your opportunity to be heard.Kathy HendersonIn a message dated 5/4/2010 8:19:49 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, DLSmith112@... writes:
There is a way we can support the hard work of the officers who make arrests and make the community a safer place to live.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: COME OUT TO THE NEXT FIFTH DISTRICT COMMUNITY COURT WATCH MEETING MAY 12 AT FIFTH DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS AT 6:30 pm
Good morning all:
Recently, I attended the Fifth District Community Court Watch meeting held at the Metropolitan Police Department Fifth District Headquarters. While I must admit I was skeptical about participating, this has been my third meeting, which has given me much more insight into how the entire Judicial System works and how strained it really is. Did you know, our DC jail is only a 1500-bed location? Did you know, if a person is charged with marijuana possession only, that is not enough to hold an individual and that they are automatically released? Did you know, juveniles make up 25% of the cases heard in the court system? Did you know, while our police are arresting individuals that is not enough to keep are streets safe? Did you know, the US Attorney’s office that prosecutes cases must have solid creditable evidence in order to hold criminals accountable? With all these issues weighing down the Judicial System, no wonder it is not working to our satisfaction! And no wonder that we as a community will have to step up to the plate and help the system work for us.
What does stepping up look like? We could do more to help establish laws to hold individuals who wreak havoc in our communities accountable for our quality of life. But that is a slow process that has to work through the City Council. So what can we as citizens do to assist the Judicial System and assist our over-stressed officers? Court Watch! This innovative program has a place for anyone, whatever their age or ability, who wishes to slow the revolving door of criminals in our community.
Court Watch is a program that monitors the progress of all persons who have a case brought against them through the Judicial System in a given area, which could be the Fifth District, PSA 501, or a neighborhood. It can be all of Ward 5 running from Truxton Circle, Bloomingdale, Eckington, Pleasant Hills, and Stronghold on the west through Edgewood, Trinidad, and Brookland in the center of the ward on to North Michigan Park, Queens Chapel, and Fort Lincoln in the east. By monitoring these people, Court Watch can alert the community when a perpetrator is coming before a judge for a public hearing, for trial, or for sentencing. With that information, the community can organize to make sure that the judge hears the community’s voice and not just the voice of the accused and his or her attorney.
One way that Court Watch gives the community a voice is by encouraging citizens to write Community Impact Statements (CIS). After a defendant is convicted of crime and awaits sentencing, a CIS can be provided to the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case (this is the only way that a judge can receive communications from the public regarding a pending case). A CIS gives us a chance to let the judge know what this defendant’s actions have done to damage our neighbors, our community, ourselves. Moreover, they make a difference. Judge Morin who was in attendance at the last Court Watch meeting, stated that he encourages the statements since more times than not, when an individual is before him at sentencing, the only ones speaking are the convicted criminal and his attorney; the prosecutor on the victim's behalf, but no one before him is telling the community’s story.
So make your voice heard and keep the criminals off the streets! Come to the next 5D Community Court Watch meeting on May 12, 2010 at the Fifth District Headquarters (1805 Bladensburg Road) at 06:30 p.m. and learn how important the “Community Impact Statement” is and how you can write one.
AKA Debbie Smith
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