Court watch training set for domestic battery trials

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 12:37 p.m. CDT

SUGAR GROVE – Fox Valley Court Watch will host a free training event from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

James Kintz of St. Charles, who helped organize those in the Fox Valley Court Watch program in 2010, said the group choose the location to make it easier for potential volunteers in southern Kane County and Kendall County to get involved.

Those in the Fox Valley Court Watch program provide an impartial assessment of the effectiveness of the way domestic violence cases are handled in court, thereby promoting victim safety and abuser accountability, according to the group’s mission statement.

People in the program go to court to observe misdemeanor and felony domestic battery cases and report to the chief judge, state’s attorney and public defender’s offices about what they see, identifying strengths and weaknesses in the judicial system, Kintz said.

“We have about 20 to 25 people who volunteer, but people come and go,” Kintz said. “Our people who are doing court watching choose their own hours for watching. They schedule themselves and go at their convenience, Monday through Friday.”

Visit www.foxvalleycourtwatch.org for information and an application to volunteer.

The training will encompass domestic violence and court procedure.

The training begins with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. and training at 8:30 a.m. A lunch break will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with training to end about 3:30 p.m.

“It will cover the dynamics of domestic abuse and Illinois law relating to domestic abuse,” Kintz said. “Lisa Accardi, an assistant state’s attorney from Kendall County, will do a presentation on the prosecution of domestic battery cases. We’ll have a couple of videos relating to court procedures in domestic violence court and an explanation of our forums and organization.”

“It’s never too late to register and walk-ins are welcome,” Kintz said.

Volunteers must be at least 18, have an email address, daily email access and commit to at least one half-day court monitoring session a month for at least six months. Volunteers also are required to attend one court session to observe how Fox Valley Court Watch functions in the courtroom before making a final commitment.

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