President of the Court Watch Montgomery Board John Ford announced today that Laurie Duker, who co-founded Court Watch in 2010, will be stepping down as Executive Director and assisting with the transition to a new Executive Director over the next six months.
“Although it was a very difficult decision to step down,” said Duker, “I’m eager to create time to write, teach, and travel while remaining actively engaged in this organization that I love. Court Watch has a great board and staff, and an unbelievably committed, talented corps of volunteers. I’m confident that we will continue to have a vital, positive impact on our County and state.”
With Court Watch, Duker, 62, has played a prominent role in improving how Montgomery County and Maryland courts handle domestic violence cases. She and co-founder Judy Whiton began Court Watch in 2010 after they identified significant systemic problems in Maryland’s domestic violence courtrooms that left domestic violence survivors unprotected. CWM’s careful observational data combined with Duker’s analysis, advocacy and persistent leadership have spurred significant changes, including the launch of Montgomery County’s Safe Passage Center for supervised visitation and monitored exchanges.
Under Duker’s leadership, Court Watch Montgomery has received extensive recognition acknowledging the invaluable impact of the organization at the state, county and community levels including the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s 2011 Community Award; 2013 Governor’s Citation for Victim Services; the Family Justice Center Foundation’s 2015 Community Partnership Award; the 2017 Montgomery Serves Volunteer Award; the 2017 Governor’s Service Award; and the 2019 Anna Julia Cooper Award for the Application of Social Science in Community Service.
Court Watch Montgomery works towards the day when all domestic violence victims coming to court for legal protection are safe, treated with respect, and receive comprehensive legal protections that effectively stop their abuse. Court Watch collects data in over 500 protective order and 500 criminal domestic violence hearings in Montgomery County District Courts each year and reports findings and recommendations to the courts, policymakers and the public. With the help of our volunteers, we seek to create lasting change for generations to come.
Contact: John Ford, President, Court Watch Montgomery Board, 202-255-9967