Victims, defendants, Office employees, and taxpayers deserve a system that demonstrates a high level of professionalism, attracts and retains excellent attorneys, and operates under a set of clear procedures that allow for efficient and professional case processing. Case backlogs in the Criminal Bureau can delay closure for victims and deprive those accused of crime of their rights to a speedy trial. Too often, this problem is exacerbated by practices that fail to draw on the expertise and judgment of individual line attorneys to promote fairness and efficiency.
The State’s Attorney must evaluate and retool practices and procedures within the criminal division to re-prioritize the way the Office handles cases. The Bureau will also hire, train, and develop top-quality attorneys; and drastically reduce case backlogs to save taxpayers money and protect the rights of the accused as well as victims. In order to achieve this, the Office will:
• Provide comprehensive and consistent training necessary to restore discretion to prosecutors at key decision points, including plea bargaining and bond decisions, and ensure that training addresses risk screening, available diversion and alternative court resources, and any potential collateral consequences of various options particularly regarding immigration status.
• Develop an improved case management and reporting system to assist prosecutors, reduce duplicative paperwork, and address case backlogs
• Evaluate the felony review process with the goals of ensuring that the process is fairly and equitably administered, and ensuring that attorneys on the felony review unit receive adequate training and are supported by experienced attorneys.