JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT POLICE PROSECTUTION
PROGRAM IN FULL SWING AS OF JUNE 1, 2012
On June 1, 2012, the Police Prosecution program (implemented initially in Justice of the Peace Court 6 on June 1, 2007) expanded to full operation in all twelve criminal Justice of the Peace Courts. This program was initiated with the goal of decreasing time to disposition, facilitating plea agreements, and reducing the time spent by the public and officers in the courthouse.
The program institutes a call of the calendar for traffic charges filed by each police agency in Delaware. A representative appears on behalf of each agency to conduct plea negotiations and, if no plea agreement is reached, the case is scheduled for trial at a later date. This provides adequate notice to the arresting officer and gives the defendant time to prepare his case. The court consolidates similar cases on trial calendars for better efficiency.
A comparison of pre-Police Prosecution (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008) data and post-Police Prosecution (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011) data showed a 42% increase in final dispositions on traffic cases in the Justice of the Peace Court. This same comparison also showed a 56% decrease in traffic trials from FY 2008 to FY 2010, along with an 8.8% increase overall in traffic cases filed in the Justice of the Peace Court (excluding DUI trials). From July 2009 through June 2011, there were 14,933 (43%) fewer traffic cases transferred from Justice of the Peace Court to Court of Common Pleas. Data collected on January 6, 2010 and September 7, 2011 showed a 53% drop in the number of weeks between arraignment in Justice of the Peace Court and traffic arraignment in Court of Common Pleas. Cases transferred on January 6, 2010 were scheduled 23 weeks later in Court of Common Pleas, whereas it took 11 weeks on September 7, 2011.
All eight State Police troops and 30 other police agencies are currently participating in the Police Prosecution program.