Initially the defendants appear before Municipal Court Judge Cedric Kerns weekly. The program utilizes incentives and sanctions to encourage behavioral change. Judge Kerns and the YO Court team look at each individual’s progress through the program and develops a treatment plan to address the barriers of each participant. This program has built a strong relationship with community partners and referrals are given to the appropriate community partner and to address the need of the individual defendant. To learn more about Yo Court please view this video.
Tell the story behind the litigation: At the heart of litigation efforts are stories of injustice to real people. Our campaigns have sought to use the emotional resonance of the injustice of real stories as crucial ways to make our case and grow support. Edie Windsor in the DOMA case was a compelling figure – and with a smart media strategy behind her, her story became a face of the injustice of DOMA and the need to dismantle it once and for all. While the media loves covering the ins and outs of the court process and politics, what moves hearts and minds are people’s actual stories. It’s certainly wise to elevate the story that’s being discussed in the litigation. It’s also wise to identify and amplify similar stories of injustice in the state and across the country similar to the story being considered in court.
It is difficult for the diocese to respond to the allegations because of the lack of specificity in the lawsuit. A response at this time would require the diocese to make assumptions about the allegations and the unnamed plaintiffs. Out of respect for all those involved, the diocese will respond to the allegations in its answer to the court after it is formally served with the lawsuit and had a reasonable time to investigate the claims.
After a final decision has been made, either party or both may appeal from the judgment if they believe there had been a procedural error made by the trial court. It isn't necessarily an automatic appeal after every judgment has been made, however, if there is a legal basis for the appeal, then one has the right to do so. The prevailing party may appeal, for example, if they wanted a larger award than was granted. The appellate court (which may be structured as an intermediate appellate court) and/or a higher court then affirms the judgment, declines to hear it (which effectively affirms it), reverses—or vacates and remands. This process would then involve sending the lawsuit back to the lower trial court to address an unresolved issue, or possibly request for a whole new trial. Some lawsuits go up and down the appeals ladder repeatedly before final resolution.
Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.