Effective July 17, 2023, the Circuit Court terminated daily live streams of hearings in which judges decide whether people accused of felony crimes should be set free to await trial. Cook County terminated the feeds just one day before the state Supreme Court will decide if Illinois can eliminate cash bail.

It’s a big step backward for criminal justice transparency. But CWBChicago readers made a difference.

In just two days, they contributed more than $10,000 to our Cook County Courtroom Transparency Fund to be used exclusively to purchase official transcripts of important criminal court detention hearings.

CWBChicago uses the transcripts to report what happened in important hearings, including the allegations made, input and arguments provided by the accused person’s attorney, and the judge’s thoughts on the case, including their bail decision.

Even better: CWBChicago matched every dollar contributed, doubling the power of the readers’ investments!

That means every contribution went twice as far, ensuring the public has access to the information it needs to hold our elected officials accountable.

We openly publish on this page an accounting of how every single dollar is spent, giving you complete confidence that the investments are used as intended.

While we ended the active fundraising campaign after hitting the $10,000 mark on our second day, you are still welcome to pitch in. Feel free to make a contribution on our subscription page. Just send us an email to let us know you want the money applied toward the Transparency Fund. We’ll make it happen.

Contributions are NOT tax-deductible.

Thank you for your support.