3. Pilot Offenses:
• System Agency perspective
• Group Discussion
Offenses for a pilot of the community court was before the subcommittee. Clark
Bernhardt pointed out that the grant required the age range to be 17-35 and the offenses
to be non-violent. In order to determine the initial offenses to be considered, it is
necessary to hear from agency stakeholders. She presented data on the
disproportionate offenses for those 17-35, noting that the offenses with the highest
disparity is operating a vehicle without owner consent (OWOC), as well as drug offenses.
Public Defender Dorl said the list of offenses were appropriate, and that contempt or
failure to submit a sample were not critical offenses. She indicated that the community
may not be open to OWOC, and she wondered how law enforcement would react to
charges of fleeing being sent to a community court. Success would be measured by the
willingness of people to enter the program, thereby addressing racial disparities.
Measures of completion and recidivism in comparison to other groups would also be
benchmarks. Dorl underscored the need for community buy in.
District Attorney Ozanne said that reckless endangerment is actually a violent crime and
could not go to the community court. He has sent OWOC cases to the Community
Restorative Court or has deferred. One consideration would be whether someone was a
repeat offender. He would need parameters, and would want to get law enforcement buy
in. There was discussion regarding charges for those in the car versus those driving, and
the likelihood that those in the car shared the driving. Ozanne questioned the data on
the failure to submit DNA, indicating that the numbers may be old because one would
not be charged until they had blown off the test. Ozanne suggested talking to law
enforcement regarding resisting arrest, suggesting that there may be a range of behavior.
He said that lower level drug offenses would be a place to start, particularly those caught
up in an economic activity rather than addiction.
Judge White indicated that he was not speaking on behalf of the judicial bench. He said
he tended to agree with Public Defender Dorl. Contempt of court cases were usually
child support issues, and the DNA specimen is not worth the time of the court. With
OWOCs, he sees a number of 17 year olds who generally have juvenile records. He
believes they would benefit from a community court. White shares Ozanne's concern
with reckless endangerment, indicating that there's usually some violence. He said that
resisting an officer could be many things, and it would be more appropriate if serious.
Charges of simple possession of meth or fentanyl would not be eligible for drug court and
so appropriate for the community court, as would low level dealers. White said that
success would be if a person does not commit the same type of crime again. He said
some police contact could occur, but success would be defendants returning with less
serious charges; he is looking for progress, not perfection. White said the challenge
would be community buy in. Victim impact statements show that people are hurt and
violated, and the program should not be a slap on the wrist. The defendant should do
hard work and show substantive change.
Discussion ensued. Brown suggested a survey of victims and defendants asking: does
this feel like justice?; to victims, did you feel heard?; to defendants, did this help you? If
healing is a value, then we should ask about it. Clark Bernhardt mentioned the Red
Hook procedural fairness survey. Glenn indicated an interest in offenses that were most
disenfranchising, such as OWOCs.
Discussion continued regarding offenses. Reese indicated an interest in higher level
offenses and those with monetary fines. There should be a rubric to prioritize offenses
and the type should grow over time. Ketchum agreed and echoed the need to get people
to participate. Dorl pointed out that the offense type is one indicator, and there would
need to be an assessment to make sure community court was a good fit for a