E-Alerts & Press Releases

PJC Film Begins Regular Showings In Baltimore City Rent Court

March 11, 2011 -- We are very pleased to announce that the PJC’s film “Stand Up For Yourself In Baltimore City Rent Court” is now being shown in the Rent Court itself three times each week. The film, produced by the Megaphone Project for the PJC, was initially released in early 2009. The film is for the nearly 150,000 tenants who are sued for eviction for nonpayment of rent in Baltimore City's District Court every year. Filmed in the District Court with court personnel, this film dramatizes common defenses and court room procedures that tenants will encounter, and shows tenants that by standing up for themselves, they can make sure the judge understands their side of the story. This film has reached a wide audience by being shown in tenant and community organization meetings, in the Legal Aid Bureau waiting room, and online.

But the original goal was to show this film in the Rent Court itself, where tenants in the midst of an eviction are most likely to see and learn from the film. Getting court permission has taken another year of persistent advocacy. PJC Tenant Advocate Levern Blackmon’s years of representing tenants in the District Court, and relations with the judges, clerks and bailiffs, was key to winning support locally. PJC Executive Director John Nethercut sought support for showing the film through the Maryland Access to Justice Commission and state-level judiciary. With the blessing of Judge Ben Clyburn, Chief Judge of the District Court, final revisions and logistics were arranged.

The “Stand Up” film will be shown on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 8:15 a.m., before the first Rent Court docket begins each day. Levern Blackmon has permission to show the film during lunch breaks at other times in the court room.

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