New Report Available!

Staggered exits are a nationally recognized best practice intended to keep victims safe, allowing them to leave the courtroom first after a protective order hearing, with their alleged offender leaving no sooner than 15 minutes thereafter. When properly executed, staggered exits reduce the risk of confrontation between the parties outside the courtroom and enable victims and their families to get safely to their transportation home. Staggered exits can help lessen trauma and increase the likelihood that victims will return to court when necessary to obtain a final order.

Court Watch has seen the use of staggered exits fluctuate by year and vary by judge, despite the fact that they are cost-free and pose no significant burden to the courts. As the courts emerge from Covid-related closures and parties return to in-person hearings, a renewed focus on staggered exits is timely. This report demonstrates that use of staggered exits in Montgomery County has continued to decline, even though the practice is recommended by the Maryland Judiciary and supported by the Montgomery Court District Courts.

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CWM Staggered Exit Report Cover Page

Court Watch Montgomery aims to ensure that all victims of intimate partner violence in Montgomery County and throughout Maryland have access to responsive justice and vital services that will stop abuse quickly and permanently. To achieve this goal, we monitor and collect data on court hearings, recommend changes to improve policy and practice, and hold judges and court personnel accountable for providing a safe and respectful court environment.

With the help of our volunteers, we have successfully advocated for much needed changes; but there is much more to be done! Contact us to find out how you can help us with our mission. We would love your support!