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NCJ Number: 51434 Find in a Library
Title: PRETRIAL DIVERSION AND ITS EFFECT IN TEXAS
Journal: HOUSTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:12  Issue:5  Dated:(JULY 1975)  Pages:1087-1109
Author(s): M E AKERS
Corporate Author: University of Houston
College of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: University of Houston
Houston, TX 77004
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: FOLLOWING AN OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL TRENDS IN ADULT PRETRIAL DIVERSION, ATTITUDES TOWARD DIVERSION IN TEXAS AS WELL AS FOUR STATE DIVERSION PROGRAMS ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: DIVERSION PROGRAMS ARE DESIGNED TO LOWER COURT COSTS, REDUCE RECIDIVISM, AND OVERCOME THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS IMPOSED BY INCARCERATION; THESE PROGRAMS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE GENERALLY SUCCESSFUL. THE FIRST GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY TO OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZE AND RECOMMEND DEFERRED PROSECUTION WAS THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE U.S. COURTS IN 1949. SINCE THEN OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND SEVERAL PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS HAVE UNDERTAKEN SUCCESSFUL DIVERSION EFFORTS. SUCH PRETRIAL INTERVENTION PROGRAMS ARE USUALLY IMPLEMENTED THROUGH LEGISLATION, COURT RULES, OR PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION. BOTH LEGISLATION AND COURT RULE APPROACHES HAVE HAD LIMITED EFFECT, WHILE PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION HAS BEEN THE MOST FAVORED METHOD. ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN NO CASES CHALLENGING THE AUTHORITY FOR DIVERSION OR ABUSES IN ITS APPLICATION, THERE IS A QUESTION OF DENIAL OF EQUAL PROTECTION IN THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF SOME PROGRAMS. THERE ARE ALSO UNRESOLVED PROBLEMS RELATING TO THE REQUIRED WAIVER OF A SPEEDY TRIAL AND THE POSSIBILITY OF INNOCENT DEFENDANTS OPTING FOR A DIVERSION ALTERNATIVE RATHER THAN RISK CONVICTION OR FINANCE A LEGAL DEFENSE. WHILE TEXAS IS THE STATE WITH THE NATION'S FIRST DIVERSION PROGRAM, PROSECUTOR OPPOSITION HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE ENOUGH TO LIMIT DIVERSION TO ONLY A FEW AREAS AND TO LIMIT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF AT LEAST ONE EXISTING PROGRAM. A LACK OF FUNDING AND EFFECTIVE LOBBYING IN THE LEGISLATURE HAVE ALSO SERVED AS BARRIERS TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MORE DIVERSION PROGRAMS IN THE STATE. IN ALL THERE ARE FOUR DIVERSION APPROACHES WITHIN THE STATE: EXTRA JUDICIAL PROBATION, PROJECT PIVOT (PRETRIAL INTERVENTION VOLUNTEER OVER TRIAL), PROJECT DETOUR, AND THE TARRANT COUNTY DEFERRED PROSECUTION PROGRAM. WHILE FUNDING PROBLEMS HAVE PLAGUED THESE PROGRAMS, ALL BUT PROJECT PIVOT HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED AND HAVE ACHIEVED DESIRABLE RESULTS. ALTHOUGH ORIGINALLY PIVOT WAS TO INCLUDE FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR DEFENDANTS NOT CHARGED WITH A CRIME AGAINST THE PERSON, LACK OF COOPERATION BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS FORCED THE PROGRAM TO BAR ALL FELONY OFFENDERS, LIMITED THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAM, AND REDUCED THE AVAILABILITY OF PRETRIAL DIVERSION OPTIONS IN THE TARGET CITY, EL PASO. TABLES COMPARE THE ELEMENTS OF DIVERSION PROGRAMS OPERATING OUTSIDE TEXAS. REFERENCES ARE FOOTNOTED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Effectiveness; Judicial diversion; Pretrial procedures; Programs; Prosecutorial discretion; Texas
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