skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 97596 Find in a Library
Title: Early Representation by Defense Counsel Field Test - Final Evaluation Report - Executive Summary
Author(s): E F Fazio; S Wexler; T Foster; M J Lowy; D Sheppard
Corporate Author: Urban and Rural Systems Associates
United States of America
Date Published: August 1984
Page Count: 42
Sponsoring Agency: Urban and Rural Systems Associates
San Francisco, CA 94111
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 82-IJ-CX-K004
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This executive summary of the evaluation of the Early Representation by Defense Counsel (ERDC) field tests conducted in three sites concludes that early representation by public defenders promotes system efficiency without compromising public safety or the quality of defense services provided to indigents.
Abstract: The National Institute of Justice selected the public defender offices of Passaic County, N.J.; Shelby County, Tenn.; and Palm Beach County, Fla.; to implement the ERDC concept. The three offices were organized differently and operated with three diverse criminal justice systems. In the field tests, over 5,000 cases were randomly assigned to ERDC and control groups. The target municipalities of Passaic and Paterson, N.J., were alternated as test sites during 2-week periods. This assignment scheduling was termed 'timed randomization.' Two of the five trial divisions were selected for test implementation in Palm Beach. 'Automated randomization' was achieved by computerized divisional assignments. Case randomization was conducted in Shelby County using random selection based on booking number. The offices identified, screened, and represented ERDC clients prior to their first appearance before a magistrate and provided investigative and plea negotiation services much earlier in the adjudication process than did control staff. Improved public defender representation at the initial bail hearing obtained pretrial release much sooner than control clients. Interviews revealed that early representation improved the attorney-client relationship. ERDC resulted in the early resolution of a higher proportion of test cases than control cases and considerably reduced the average time from arrest to disposition. Additional resources committed to ERDC cases were more than compensated for by the savings realized. The summary highlights the test sites' characteristics, the evaluation methodology, major findings, replication possibilities, and policy implications.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Defender systems; Florida; New Jersey; Program evaluation; Public defenders; Tennessee
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.