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PENNSYLVANIA - PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION - ISSUE PAPER

NCJ Number
54475
Author(s)
S KAPSCH
Date Published
Unknown
Length
52 pages
Annotation
THE GOALS OF PENNSYLVANIA'S ACCELERATED REHABILITATIVE DISPOSITION (ARD) PROGRAM ARE REVIEWED. THE PROGRAM SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN PROCESSED THROUGH INDICTMENT AND ADMINISTERED FAIRLY.
Abstract
AFTER REVIEWING THE STANDARDS RELEVENT TO PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAMS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE STANDARDS AND GOALS, THE OPERATION OF THE ARD PROGRAM IS EXAMINED. THE GOALS OF SUCH PROGRAMS ARE GENERALLY (1) TO PROMOTE ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY BY REDUCING BACKLOGS AND CASE BURDENS FOR TRIAL COURTS, (2) TO PREVENT FUTURE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY BY PROVIDING MINOR FIRST OFFENDERS WITH REHABILITATIVE-CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, AND (3) TO REDUCE THE OVERCRIMINALIZATION PRODUCED BY VAGUE CRIMINAL STATUTES. EACH OF THESE GOALS IS DISCUSSED, AND THE POTENTIALS FOR ABUSE ARE CITED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT IF THE ARD PROGRAM IS TO REDUCE BACKLOGS, IT MUST BE LIMITED TO THOSE CASES WHICH ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO BE PROSECUTED AND NOT USED AS A MEANS FOR KEEPING WEAK CASES IN THE SYSTEM. FOR THIS REASON IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE PROGRAM BE LIMITED TO CASES WHICH HAVE BEEN PROCESSED THROUGH INDICTMENT, INFORMATION, OR SOME SIMILAR STAGE OF THE PROCESS. SCREENING SHOULD NOT BE DELEGATED TO THE UNMONITORED GOOD WILL OF THE PROSECUTION. SINCE PARTICIPATION REQUIRES THE OFFENDER'S CONSENT AND WAIVERS OF THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL AND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, PROCEDURES SHOULD BE DEVELOPED TO PROTECT DUE PROCESS. IT IS ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT ARD BE EXTENDED UNIFORMLY THROUGHOUT THE STATE. AT PRESENT IT IS CONCENTRATED IN CITIES. ROUTINE EXPUNGEMENT OF THE RECORD AFTER SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM COMPLETION IS ALSO URGED. APPENDIXES PROVIDE THE PRETRIAL DIVERSION STANDARDS OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION AND OF THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, LEGAL DISCUSSION, STATISTICS, A SURVEY OF THE USE OF ARD IN PHILADELPHIA, AND A COPY OF THE MASSACHUSETTS PRETRIAL DIVERSION ACT. (GLR)