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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 152004 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Burning the Midnight Oil: An Examination of Cook County's Night Drug Court
Journal: Justice System Journal  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:special issue (1994)  Pages:41-52
Author(s): B E Smith; A J Lurigio; R C Davis; S Goretsky Epstein; S J Popkin
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Grant Number: 91-DD-CX-K045
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In response to an upsurge in drug arrests and a local legal culture that tacitly accepted delay in processing drug cases, the Cook County (Illinois) Circuit Court established night courts to deal exclusively with drug-related cases.
Abstract: As part of this effort, new courts were established, handpicked judges were drawn from other courts, and the judges were then mandated to reduce backlogs and render speedy dispositions. The program instituted strict management controls to ensure that all possible steps were taken to process cases rapidly and efficiently. This evaluation of the night courts examines how they have affected case processing times, disposition patterns, and sentencing practices in drug-related cases. The data indicate that night courts dramatically reduced the processing time of drug cases. The plea rate in these cases increased significantly while dismissal and bench trial rates declined. The percentage of convicted offenders sentenced to probation increased, while the percentage sentenced to prison decreased, and length of probation terms also fell. On the negative side, fewer defendants in night court were represented by private attorneys and the trial rate decreased. However, attorneys filed as many motions on behalf of their clients as attorneys in day courts, and the rate of drug treatment referrals remained constant. 1 figure, 3 tables, 1 note, and 9 references
Main Term(s): Drug law enforcement
Index Term(s): Case processing; Court case flow management; Courts; Illinois; Night courts
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