SCAR Court Watch

Welcome to SCAR’s
Court Watch Program.

Our program has been active to varying degrees since 2017, but in 2023, we are excited to announce a new and more robust program is coming to fruition in collaboration with Gonzaga Law and including the hiring of a dedicated Court Watch Coordinator.

Our goal is to create a safer, more equitable, and just legal system for everyone in our community by holding our Judicial Systems accountable for their role in perpetuating systematic racism and protecting the constitutional rights of our POC population through transparency and judicial accountability.

Court Watch is one of the strategies that SCAR has at its disposal to fight racism in our Spokane Community. Court watchers monitor the criminal justice system through the lens of racial equity.

What is Court Watch?

A Court Watch Program is a community-driven initiative designed to monitor and observe court proceedings. The program’s primary objective is to promote transparency and accountability in the legal system by observing and documenting court proceedings. Court Watch Programs play a crucial role in ensuring that the courts operate fairly and equitably, particularly when it comes to marginalized and underrepresented communities.


What does Court Watch do?

The Court Watch Program is designed to observe and document court proceedings in the Spokane area. Our trained volunteers attend court hearings and take notes on various aspects, such as the demeanor of the judge, the arguments made by attorneys, and the proceedings’ outcome. The information gathered by our volunteers is compiled and used to provide data-driven feedback to judges, attorneys, and other relevant parties in the legal system.


Become a Court Observer

Court Observation is open to all SCAR members who wish to support the victims of hate crimes and to prevent bias in the courtroom. Please sign up for an hour that fits into your schedule. Even one hour makes a difference!



Positive Impacts of
Court Watch Programs

Several court watch programs across the country have made a significant impact on the communities they serve. Here are some examples of the positive impacts of other court watch programs.

Increased Transparency: Court Watch Programs help to increase transparency in the legal system by providing an additional layer of accountability.

Reducing Racial Disparities: In some cases, court watch programs have helped to reduce racial disparities in the legal system by bringing attention to disparities and prompting changes in court policies.

Identifying Systemic Issues: By observing court proceedings, court watch programs can identify systemic issues that need to be addressed in the legal system. For example, a court watch program in New York City identified issues with the handling of domestic violence cases, which led to changes in court policies.

Improved Courtroom Demeanor: Court watch programs have been known to improve the demeanor of judges and attorneys in the courtroom. Knowing that their actions are being observed can encourage them to act more professionally and courteously.