Women's Justice Center, Centro de Justicia Para Mujeres
Home, Pagina Principal, About, Sobre nosotras, Funding, Financiamient
What's New What's New, Que Hay de Nuevo
Help. Ayuda
The Maria Teresa Macias Case, El Caso de Maria Teresa Macias
Criminal Justice, Justicia Criminal
Women in Policing, Mujeres Policia
Guest Book, Lobro de Vistantes
Workshops / Talleres
jContact Us, Contactanos

Back to Table of Contents
Back to Help Index

Part Ill

Take It To the Court House Steps

Passing out one page copies of your complaint and demands on the court house steps at lunchtime is a highly effective way to put pressure on any part of the system that is failing you. Best of all, it's likely to get a very fast response to your needs.

The reason this works so well is that in a very brief period of time passing out your story on the courthouse steps you'll reach a captive audience of all the players in the system. In just a couple hours at lunchtime, you'll reach judges, police officers, probation officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, social workers, victims, clerks, court reporters, and more; the whole cast of characters in a tightly interlocking system. And each in turn will take your handout back to their office and start talking about it.

In no time, your complaint you will be the buzz of the day throughout the entire local criminal justice system as officials pass the story back and forth from one to another.

The very last thing any individual official wants is to have one of their cases blow up in front of all their peers, and become the subject of critique, discussion, and jokes. Applying this kind of social pressure is especially effective for use on criminal justice officials because they pride themselves more than most on always having everything under control. More often than not, the official that you're criticizing, or the official's superior, will react very quickly to try and make you happy by giving you what you want.

So make three or four hundred copies of your letter, or of a one page flyer of your complaint and demands. Then go with a friend, advocate, or client, stand on the courthouse steps at lunchtime, pass it out, and watch your problem get solved.

One of the nice features of this strategy is that once you've done this, it works even better the second or third time around if you have to do it again. Once people know the first chapter of a story, they want to find out what happens next. They're more likely to pay attention to the second or third chapter. So if the official who mishandled your case in the first place goes on to make more mistakes, it's a perfectly good idea to write up an updated statement and go back to the court house steps and do it again.

If you want to protect your confidentiality as you do this, just withhold or black out identifying information from your handout.



Feel free to photocopy and distribute this information as long as you keep the credit and text intact.
Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women's Justice Center,


All rights reserved © 2010 by Woman's Justice Center
Web site by S. Henry Wild