From Professor Daniel Coyne
Paid court observers needed
The Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Appleseed Fund for Justice are working with a Harvard researcher to study bail procedures and bail decisions. For several years, the Circuit Court of Cook County has used a closed-circuit video system to conduct bond hearings. In May this system is scheduled to be replaced by in-person hearings. In order to evaluate how this change in procedure will affect bail decision-making, detailed data is needed.
Each weekday, two observers are responsible for attending and recording the entirety of a central bond court hearing at the criminal courts building at 26th Street and California Avenue. Bond court begins at 1 p.m. and runs until all the defendants have appeared, which usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours. For each defendant the observers record information including identifiers, charges, criminal background, aggravating and mitigating information, and the ultimate bail amount given.
We are looking for 3 to 4 students to assist with this project. You will be paid $12 an hour for the time that is spent in bond court, including an additional hour for each day to cover travel time. E-mail Professor Daniel Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.