A new Court Watch study shows that Montgomery County’s District Court judges are not doing what they should in over two thirds of relevant cases to keep domestic violence victims safe in and around court facilities. Judges are failing to implement simple, cost-free steps that can protect victims from their abusers – even though these steps were recommended by the court’s state-wide leaders in 2012.

“Staggered exits are a nationally recognized and widely implemented basic safety procedure. Judges have the authority to implement this procedure. Maryland’s judicial leaders have recommended it. Montgomery County judges should implement staggered exits in every case to protect domestic violence victims,” stated Laurie Duker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Court Watch Montgomery.

  • In 71% of relevant cases, District Court judges and other court personnel failed to use staggered exits.
  • Rates of “staggered exit” use varied dramatically across judges, with one judge never using the measure, while another judge used staggered exits in 85% of relevant cases.Read CWM staggered exit rept 5.18.15 FIN to see examples of problems at court and quotes from victims.