Skip to main content

Public Defenders Office

Houston Court Watch

The University of Houston-Downtown and the Harris County Public Defender's Office proudly announce the launch of the Houston Court Watch Program. Houston Court Watch is an innovative new project that will empower students like you to uphold our democracy by monitoring local criminal courtrooms. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the public the right to observe our courts as the ultimate safeguard for justice and fairness. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this constitutional right or have not had an opportunity to exercise it.

As a Houston Court Watcher, you will receive training and support to see court happenings with open eyes to achieve the high calling of true civic engagement. Upon completion of training, you will be asked to watch court proceedings for a total of 8 hours (including at least a one-time, in-person, visit to the Joint Processing Center at 700 North San Jacinto Street (a block away from UHD). At the end of the program, you will receive an official Houston Court Watcher certificate from the Houston Laboratory for Crime and Justice in UHD’s Center for Public Service and Community Research (CPSCR).

If you are interested in learning more about the program and becoming a Houston Court Watcher, please email Once we receive your email, we will reach out to you with further instructions.