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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98368 Find in a Library
Title: Screening, Diversion and Mediation in the United States
Journal: New York Law School Law Review  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(1984)  Pages:1-38
Author(s): B J George
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 28
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This description and assessment of the informal disposition of criminal cases in the United States considers the use of police and prosecutorial discretion; diversion after formal charging; alternative modes of criminal dispute resolution; and the implementation of expanded screening, diversion, and mediation under U.S. law.
Abstract: The opening discussion notes that police have always had the discretion to overlook crimes and refrain from arrest and formal charging. Also considered are why such discretion is not generally subject to legislation and the difficulty of making police accountable in the use of their discretion. The section on the use of prosecutorial discretion in screening cases covers the types of screening exercised and recommends guidelines for prosecutors in determining whether or not to prosecute a case. Subsections under the rubric, 'Diversion After Formal Charging,' address (1) the characteristics and appropriate use of diversion programs, (2) the characteristics and legality of pretrial release programs, (3) the charcteristics and legal parameters of plea negotiations, and (4) conditions for withdrawing prosecution. In the major section on lay participation in criminal dispute resolution, the topics discussed are precharging or pretrial mediation, citizen supervision of diverted offenders, and the jury system. Restitution and peace bonds are also described as mechanisms for resolving disputes. The paper concludes that the expanded use of screening and diversion is not likely if the public perceives they increase the risk that dangerous offenders will be released into the community. Any expansion of such mechanisms is expected to occur at the county level, perhaps authorized by State legislation, rather than through a national initiative. A total of 218 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Mediation; Plea negotiations; Police discretion; Police diversion; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial diversion
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