Courting Justice Dec. 8 Forum Hosted by Tavis Smiley


A conversation on fines, fees and bail

Dec. 1, 2016 (Cleveland) – “Courting Justice,” a forum on fines, fees and bail facilitated by Tavis Smiley, will be held at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square in Cleveland on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. The forum will be recorded for broadcast on public television stations across the country as part of the nightly Tavis Smiley program distributed by PBS. It is part of an initiative developed by Tavis Smiley and the National Center for State Courts to stage a series of forums around the country. These events allow judges to engage with the communities they serve and provide stakeholders from disenfranchised communities an opportunity to discuss the issues that erode trust in the judicial system and offer solutions.

An audience composed of community and grassroots leaders, legal professionals, and citizens adversely impacted by the justice system has been invited to participate in the forum. Panel members include: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio Maureen O’Conner, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine, Former Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Yvette McGee Brown, and Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Pat Carroll.  

The Cleveland Foundation, The City Club of Cleveland and ideastream are collaborating with the national partners on the forum and with other interested partners on a community engagement initiative that will continue the conversation through events across Ohio over the next year.

Both Civic Commons ideastream and The City Club of Cleveland will facilitate the year-long community engagement, including self-organized and hosted community discussions, and panels and speaker presentations at The City Club of Cleveland. A culminating event will be held at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square that brings together all groups and individuals engaged throughout the year to discuss potential policy actions and additional efforts needed to reform the criminal justice system throughout Ohio and beyond.

The Courting Justice forum held in Cleveland will be broadcast by public television stations nationwide and will be seen on WVIZ/PBS ideastream on Dec. 13 and 14 at 11:30 p.m. In addition, the topic will be featured on Ideas on WVIZ/PBS ideastream and The Sound of Ideas on 90.3 WCPN ideastream and The Ohio Channel. The attached fact sheet illustrates an extension of the program through community engagement and online resources.



Media contacts
Marissa Norris, ideastream, 216-916-6318,
Stephanie Jansky, The City Club, 216-350-5577,
Michael Murphy, Cleveland Foundation, 216-615-7003,

About ideastream
The mission of ideastream is to strengthen our communities. ideastream pursues this mission as a multiple media public service organization by providing distinctive, thought-provoking programs and services that enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain.

About The City Club of Cleveland
The City Club of Cleveland is dedicated to creating conversations of consequence that help democracy thrive. A product of the Progressive Era, the City Club was founded in 1912 and is renowned for its tradition of thoughtful debate and discussion. For more than a hundred years, audience members have posed unscripted questions to every speaker, from sitting presidents to community activists, striving to fulfill the vision of strong and informed communities and individuals that prize freedom of speech and civil, civic dialogue.

About the Cleveland Foundation
The Cleveland Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by working together with our donors to build community endowment, address needs through grantmaking, and provide leadership on key community issues.

About The National Center for State Courts
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States, Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, management and research services to the nation’s state courts.

About Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley is currently host of the late night television show Tavis Smiley on PBS, now in its 13th season, as well as “The Tavis Smiley Show” on Public Radio International. He is the author or co-author of 20 books, and his nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation is now in the midst of a $3 million four-year campaign called “Ending Poverty: America’s Silent Spaces” to help focus on alleviating endemic poverty in America. TIME magazine named Smiley to the TIME 100, a list of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.”

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