Three articles present the perspectives of court managers who are involved in the implementation of differentiated case management (DCM) pilot programs sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DCM goes beyond the traditional broad caseload distinctions (criminal vs. civil and general vs. limited jurisdiction) based on legal subject matters and the extent of claim or sentence exposure. DCM uses more refined distinctions that relate to the management complexity presented by each case and the various tasks and time frames required to achieve a just disposition. Procedures and time frames of the case process are tailored to the needs of individual cases filed. In 1987, the BJA instituted a program to test the application of DCM techniques to criminal and civil caseloads in State trial courts. Although the specific features of the DCM pilot projects differ, reflecting local case-flow practices and legal culture, they share fundamental characteristics. The first article in this three-article series on this project describes management issues relating to the criminal DCM programs of the Pierce County Superior Court, a general jurisdiction court in Tacoma, WA, and the Expedited Drug Case Management Program in Middlesex County, NJ, which was launched in 1988. The second article presents the perspectives of two court managers - one who manages both a civil and criminal DCM program in the Second Judicial District Court, Ramsey County, MN - and one who manages a civil DCM program in the Camden County Superior Court in New Jersey. The third and final article presents the perspectives of two court managers on management issues relating to their criminal DCM programs, one in the Detroit Recorder's Court and the other in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
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Bureau of Justice Assistance "Reprint" originally appearing in The Court Manager, 1993.