On August 6, 2019, Jonathan Witmer-Rich, Associate Dean of Academic Enrichment, spoke on a panel at the annual Conference of Court Information Officers, held this year in Cleveland. This international conference of court information officers–the public relations personnel for judicial systems–featured attendees from around the nation and the world, including the Ukraine and Australia.
Professor Witmer-Rich appeared on a panel with the Honorable John Russo, Presiding and Administrative Judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, and Darren Toms, the common pleas Court Information Officer. The panel discussed Season 3 of the Serial podcast, which focused on the day-to-day workings of criminal justice systems in Cuyahoga County. The Serial producers worked closely with both Judge Russo and Mr. Toms in gaining access to the Cuyahoga County court system.
Professor Witmer-Rich discussed the course he taught in Spring 2019 focused on the Serial Podcast, titled “Understanding and Reforming the Criminal Justice Process.” He and the other panelists discussed the benefits of openness and transparency for a court system, as well as how to manage the possible criticisms and concerns that can arise when a judicial system is placed under close journalistic scrutiny.