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Justice Education

Committee Chair: Paulette Chapman, Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Since 1982, the Council for Court Excellence’s (CCE) Justice Education Committee has educated the District of Columbia community about local justice issues. To this end, the committee publishes plain English guides concerning DC justice issues, and also conducts presentations based on these guides throughout the community.

The Justice Education Committee has achieved significant success over the past 37 years. It has published eight community guides about justice issues, including its earliest publication When Someone Dies: A Non-Lawyer’s Guide to Probate in Washington, DC, and its forthcoming publication When an Adult Needs Decision-making Help: Legal Tools Available in the District of Columbia. The committee has also sponsored legal trainings for attorneys and judges. For several years, the committee partnered with the DC Superior Court to execute jury service appreciation events at the courthouse. Since 1991, the committee has sponsored the School Jury Education Project, through which local and federal judges teach high school students about serving on a jury in the District of Columbia.

Some of the priority projects include: 

Update and reprint CCE’s Guide to Probate in DC - CCE’s Probate Guide was originally published in 1985, and last updated in 2009. Over the years, it has consistently been CCE’s most popular publication. Elderly DC residents regularly request a hardcopy version of the guide, which has resulted in CCE depleting most of its stock of this publication. The Justice Education Committee will update the content of the Probate Guide, reprint it, and systematically distribute it among the DC community.

Expand CCE’s juror education efforts - In the past, CCE organized Jury Service Appreciation programs in conjunction with local courts, and for several decades has educated DC high school students about serving on DC juries. Yet, citizen participation in DC’s jury system remains low. The Justice Education Committee will expand its jury education efforts beyond high school students, and seek to educate DC’s adult residents about the importance of jury service.

Educate the DC community about consumer fraud issues - Consumer fraud negatively affects many in the District of Columbia. DC’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently published a guide to assist the DC community in identifying and avoiding consumer fraud. The Justice Education Committee will seek to partner with the OAG to potentially expand this guidance, and to educate the DC community about consumer fraud issues.

Educate DC school leaders and staff about how to effectively interact with the police - CCE has received funding to develop guidance for DC public school employees about the laws and policies regulating how police officers on DC school campuses should interact with school staff and students. In partnership with the Youth Justice Committee, the Justice Education Committee will disseminate this forthcoming publication among DC schools, and conduct training sessions to educate DC school leaders about these issues.

Recent and key publications: 

Victim's Guide to the District of Columbia Justice System (2017) (Spanish edition, 2019) (Amharic edition, 2019)

When Someone Dies: A Non-Lawyer's Guide to Probate (2009)

Personal Affairs Record Book (2009), a companion booklet to When Someone Dies


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