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DECRIMINALIZATION - ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION - VOLUME 2 - DISCUSSION, INTERPRETATION AND APPENDICES - FINAL REPORT

NCJ Number
62103
Author(s)
M WAGNER; M GOLDSAMT; N LESTER
Date Published
1978
Length
109 pages
Annotation
DISCUSSION, INTERPRETATION, AND APPENDIXES ARE PRESENTED IN THIS SECOND VOLUME OF A THREE-VOLUME REPORT ON A COMPARISON OF DECRIMINALIZED ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION OF TRAFFIC OFFENSES AND TRADITIONAL ADJUDICATION.
Abstract
THE STUDY COMPARED THE RELATIVE 'FAIRNESS,' 'EFFICIENCY,' AND 'EFFECTIVENESS' OF DECRIMINALIZED ADJUDICATION OF TRAFFIC OFFENSES IN BUFFALO, N.Y. AND THE STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA WITH TRADITIONAL ADJUDICATION OF TRAFFIC OFFENSES IN SYRACUSE, N.Y. AND THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA. RESULTS OF THE STUDY SHOW THAT DECRIMINALIZATION OF TRAFFIC OFFENSES, WITHOUT A CORRESPONDING CHANGE IN THE ADJUDICATION SYSTEM, WILL NOT APPRECIABLY IMPROVE THE 'FAIRNESS,' 'EFFICIENCY,' OR THE 'EFFECTIVENESS' OF THAT SYSTEM; FOR EXAMPLE, ALTHOUGH UNDER NORTH DAKOTA'S DECRIMINALIZED SYSTEM FOR HANDLING TRAFFIC OFFENSES POTENTIAL JAIL TERMS WERE REMOVED FOR TRAFFIC OFFENSES SO THAT APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL FOR INDIGENTS AND THE AVAILABILITY OF TRIAL BY JURY WERE NO LONGER REQUIRED, ADJUDICATION EFFICIENCY WAS NOT IMPROVED, BECAUSE UNDER THE PRIOR TRADITIONAL SYSTEM OF ADJUDICATION, ASSIGNMENTS OF COUNSEL FOR THE POOR AND TRIAL BY JURY FOR TRAFFIC OFFENSES WERE NOT USED. ONLY IF THERE ARE PLANNED CHANGES IN THE ADJUDICATION PROCESS AS A RESULT OF DECRIMINALIZATION OF OFFENSES CAN IMPROVED EFFICIENCY BE EXPECTED. FURTHER, IMPROVEMENT IN 'FAIRNESS' CAN RESULT FROM DECRIMINALIZATION ONLY IF THE DECISIONMAKING DISCRETION OF HEARING OFFICERS IS LIMITED STRICTLY TO THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED. 'EFFECTIVENESS' CAN BE EXPECTED TO IMPROVE THROUGH DECRIMINALIZED ADJUDICATION ONLY IF THE ADJUDICATORS DIRECT DISPOSITIONS TOWARD CHANGING DRIVING PATTERNS RATHER THAN CONTINUING TO PURSUE PUNITIVE ACTIONS THROUGH FINES AND LICENSE SUSPENSIONS. DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS SHOULD BE DEVELOPED TO EXAMINE THE USE OF FACILITIES AND PENALTIES SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO ALTER THE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR OF HABITUALLY DEVIANT DRIVERS. ADJUDICATORS SHOULD THEN BE TRAINED TO MANAGE PROCESSING AND ADJUDICATION ACCORDING TO PROCEDURES PROVEN TO BE MOST FAIR, EFFICIENT, AND EFFECTIVE. APPENDIXES CONTAIN AN ADJUDICATION HEARING OBSERVATION FORM, A HEARING OBSERVER'S MANUAL, A REPORTER ANSWER FORM, AN ADJUDICATOR INTERVIEW FORM, A POLICE OFFICER INTERVIEW FORM, EFFICIENCY DATA COLLECTION WORKSHEETS AND SUMMARY REPORT FORM, AND A SYSTEMS EFFECTIVENESS DATA RETRIEVAL WORKSHEET FORM. A GLOSSARY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ARE ALSO PROVIDED. (RCB)