Articles Tagged with Community Courts

There are some days where the wastefulness in the criminal justice system makes me sick.  Last Wednesday, Novemberpolice-officer-1262266-m 7 was one of those days.  On the weekend of October 13, 2013, during the government shutdown, the Metropolitan Police Department conducted “Operation off the Streets 2.”  This operation, which probably cost the city millions of dollars in resources, resulted in the arrest of over 60 people in undercover prostitution operations.

Almost everyone arrested were first time offenders or people with very limited criminal history.  Almost everyone arrested was released on what’s called “citation release.”  That means the police released them at the station after booking them and gave them a citation to come to court at a future date.  That brings us to November 7—the day they set all 60 of these arrests for arraignment.  Some of them hired DC prostitution lawyers in advance others got court appointed attorneys on the day of arraignment.

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This post is the third and final in a three part series that addresses what diversion is in DC criminal law.  The first part discussed deferred prosecution agreements.  Part two discussed deferred sentencing agreements.  This part will discuss the DC Superior Court’s problem solving court options that include Mental Health Court and the Superior Court Drug Intervention Program or “Drug Court.”  These options are available to people charged by the United States Attorney’s Office and if successfully completed can result in the dismissal of one’s case.gavel

In both courts, the central focus is treatment rather than incarceration.  In Drug Court, the focus is exclusively on the person charged getting drug treatment.  In Mental Health Court, the focus is typically on both drug treatment and mental health treatment, which typically go hand in hand where someone suffers from both a mental health illness and a drug addiction.  If someone completes either court successfully, the government will usually dismiss that person’s criminal case.  Not everyone can enter these programs.  For both problem solving courts, the person must be approved by both either the United States Attorney’s Office (“USAO”) or the Pretrial Services Agency or both.  So, it is important, if you are interested in resolving your criminal case through a problem solving court, to have a DC criminal defense lawyer who will advocate on your behalf to help get you into the court that most fits your situation.

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