Preliminary Research for Case Management Best Practices
“Justice delayed is justice denied”
April 27, 2016 – The Karpel Foundation, a non-profit organization working to improve America’s Criminal Justice System, has completed its preliminary analysis of data obtained from highly efficient prosecutor’s offices around the country in an effort to identify common strategies and practices that have resulted in expeditious criminal case processing in those offices. Speedy justice benefits victims of crime, communities and often the strength of the cases themselves. The jurisdictions surveyed included offices from across the nation and of varying size and financial means. The preliminary findings include the following:
Responsibility - Prosecutor offices that assume the primary responsibility for scheduling and moving cases through the criminal justice system, as opposed to the courts or some other entity, are most effective in ensuring speedy justice. In the jurisdictions analyzed, such responsibility is demonstrated through speedy trial policies and practices that publicly acknowledge the importance of this issue regardless of who does the actual scheduling.
Law Enforcement - Prosecutor offices that receive case files from their law enforcement partners within 1-14 days of incident perform quicker screening and consistently move cases through the criminal justice system quicker.
Discovery – Prosecutor offices that provide criminal discovery to the defense within 30 days of filing or at first appearance experienced less delay in case resolutions.
Plea Offers – When appropriate, Prosecutor offices that provide plea offers along with their initial discovery outperform the time standards of offices where this is not a policy.
The above findings should be considered by each prosecutor office even though the structure of the criminal justice system varies across jurisdictions when it comes to issues such as: the availability of courtrooms and judges; who determines and/or sets the calendar; the efficiency or lack thereof of necessary third party agencies (e.g. lab results); and other factors outside the prosecutor’s control.
The Karpel Foundation intends to continue to gather and analyze data on this important issue in our effort to inform best practices for prosecutors and to help to ascertain additional factors that can drive the criminal justice system to greater efficiency.
Board of Directors
Brad Berry - District Attorney, Yamhill County, Oregon
Kevin Brackett - 16 th Circuit Solicitor, South Carolina
Jennifer M. Joyce - Circuit Attorney, City of St. Louis, Missouri
Larry D. Morse II - District Attorney, Merced County, California
Jeff Reisig - District Attorney, Yolo County, California
James Reams - County Attorney (retired) Rockingham County, New Hampshire (Former President, National District Attorney Association)