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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76876 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Early Case Assessment - An Evaluation
Corporate Author: Vera Institute of Justice
United States of America
Project Director: J Thompson
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 111
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, NY 10279
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This project evaluated the Early Case Assessment Bureaus (ECAB's) established in New York City's Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bronx District Attorneys' Offices in 1975 to imporve the screening of felony cases.
Abstract: The goal of the ECAB's was to speed to the Supreme Court those cases for which a felony conviction could be obtained and reduce to a misdemeanor or drop prosecution of those cases which did not have sufficient evidence or seriousness to sustain a felony charge. To accomplish this, senior assistant district attorneys (ADA's) with trial experience were assigned to a borough's complaint room to screen cases. The Vera institute of Justice evaluated the ECAB's by comparing felony arrest cases entering the courts before and after the inception of the program and observing operations in the criminal complaint rooms. A general description of the ECAB's operations and an analysis of the case tracking management techniques emphasize the informal procedures followed by the ADA's to evaluate cases, their reliance on the arresting police officer, and the lack of uniformity in their tracking decisions. The data comparing court outcomes indicated that a substantial proportion of felony arrests were targeted successfully for early disposition as misdemeanors in criminal court, assuring speedier processing and reduced pretrial detention and witness appearance costs. Fewer cases were presented to the grand jury, but indictments were handed down in more cases and the rate of felony convictions increased. Comparative data are provided for the three boroughs. Monetary savings from decreased disposition times and manpower considerations are also estimated. Despite variations in implementation among the boroughs, the evaluation concluded that the ECAB's achieved their goals and should be continued. Changes which would increase the ECAB's effectiveness are outlined and include improving information available to the ADA screeners, developing procedures which encourage uniform tracking methods, and having experienced ADA's remain in the complaint room. The appendixes contain a description of the evaluation methodology and tables showing grand jury presentations and indictments for Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Additional tables are used throughout the text. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Adult felony system; Case dismissal; Court case flow management; New York; Program evaluation; Prosecutorial screening
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