- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Latest on a volunteer group’s call for better public and media access to New Orleans magistrate court (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

A volunteer group that began monitoring criminal courtrooms in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina says the sheriff has agreed to make sure media and members of the public have access to magistrate court.

Magistrate court is where suspects’ first court appearances are made in New Orleans. Bonds are set there and hearings are held on whether there is cause to hold a suspect.

Court Watch NOLA executive director Simone Levine (sih-MONE’ leh-VEEN’) says there have been complaints by reporters and members of the public that access to magistrate court is not always granted on nights and weekends. However, Levine said at a Monday news conference that the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has agreed to make sure public access is available at all times.

___

8 a.m.

A volunteer group that began monitoring criminal courtrooms in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina has set a news conference to discuss public access to the city’s magistrate court.

The magistrate court is often the first place where suspects arrested for a variety of crimes face a judge.

Court Watch NOLA’s Monday news conference will deal with the group’s plan to include the magistrate court in its monitoring program. Also, the group is expected to discuss the rights of the public and the news media to have access to magistrate court proceedings at all times.


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