Early Case Resolution
Persons charged with certain crimes may be eligible to plead guilty and to resolve their cases at the time of their arraignment. Most misdemeanor crimes, certain low level felony property crimes and all drug possession charges are eligible for consideration in the program. Nearly 70% of all cases referred to the Early Case Resolution (ECR) Program are resolved at arraignment or within two weeks of their first appearance. 3,327 cases were referred to ECR in 2011 and 2,301 of those cases were resolved at arraignment or within two weeks.
The ECR Program was created for several reasons. The first was to allow defendants in certain straightforward cases to plead guilty after consulting with an advisory defense attorney in order to resolve their case at the first appearance. This reduces the number of times a defendant has to appear in court, saves taxpayer dollars and clears the court calendar allowing for speedier resolution of more complex cases. Crime victims also benefit from the quick resolution of their cases. They are contacted immediately by our victim advocates in order to obtain information about any restitution claims and are not required to appear in court.