2009 California Penal Code - Section 14150-14156 :: Title 10.6. Community Conflict Resolution Programs

PENAL CODE
SECTION 14150-14156

14150.  The Legislature hereby finds and declares:
   (a) Over the last 10 years, criminal case filings, including
misdemeanor filings, have been increasing faster than any other type
of filing in California's courts. Between 1981 and 1991, nontraffic
misdemeanor and infraction filings in municipal and justice courts
increased by 35 percent.
   (b) These misdemeanor cases add to the workload which is now
straining the California court system. In addition, many of these
cases are ill-suited to complete resolution through the criminal
justice system because they involve underlying disputes which may
result in continuing conflict and criminal conduct within the
community.
   (c) Many victims of misdemeanor criminal conduct feel excluded
from the criminal justice process. Although they were the direct
victims of the offenders' criminal conduct, the process does not
currently provide them with a direct role in holding the offender
accountable for this conduct.
   (d) Community conflict resolution programs utilizing alternative
dispute resolution (ADR) processes such as mediation and arbitration
have been effectively used in California and elsewhere to resolve
conflicts involving conduct that could be charged as a misdemeanor.
These programs can assist in reducing the number of cases burdening
the court system. By utilizing ADR processes, these programs also
provide an opportunity for direct participation by the victims of the
conduct, thereby increasing victims' satisfaction with the criminal
justice process. In addition, by bringing the parties together, these
programs may reduce conflict within the community by facilitating
the settlement of disputes which are causing repeated misdemeanor
criminal conduct and may increase compliance with restitution
agreements by encouraging the offender to accept personal
responsibility.
   (e) As of the effective date of this section, the San Francisco
and Contra Costa district attorney offices refer between 1,000 and
1,500 cases per year involving conduct which could be charged as a
misdemeanor to California Community Dispute Services, which provides
ADR services. Between 70 and 75 percent of these cases are
successfully resolved through the ADR process, and the rate of
compliance with the agreements reached is between 80 and 93 percent.
   (f) The State of New York has developed a substantial statewide
alternative dispute resolution program in which 65 percent of the
cases using the services are of a criminal nature. These cases are
referred to arbitration, conciliation, and mediation. Of the criminal
misdemeanor cases that were mediated, 82 percent reached an
agreement through the mediation process.
   (g) It is in the public interest for community dispute resolution
programs to be established to provide ADR services in cases involving
conduct which could be charged as a misdemeanor and for district
attorneys and courts to be authorized to refer cases to these
programs.

14151.  The district attorney may establish a community conflict
resolution program pursuant to this title to provide alternative
dispute resolution (ADR) services, such as mediation, arbitration, or
a combination of both mediation and arbitration (med-arb) in cases,
including those brought by a city prosecutor, involving conduct which
could be charged as a misdemeanor. The district attorney may
contract with a private entity to provide these services and may
establish minimum training requirements for the neutral persons
conducting the ADR processes.

14152.  (a) The district attorney may refer cases involving conduct
which could be charged as a misdemeanor to the community conflict
resolution program. In determining whether to refer a case to the
community conflict resolution program, the district attorney shall
consider, but is not limited to considering, all of the following:
   (1) The nature of the conduct in question.
   (2) The nature of the relationship between the alleged victim and
the person alleged to have committed the conduct.
   (3) Whether referral to the community conflict resolution program
is likely to help resolve underlying issues which are likely to
result in additional conduct which could be the subject of criminal
charges.
   (b) No case where there has been a history of child abuse, sexual
assault, or domestic violence, as that term is defined in Section
6211 of the Family Code, between the alleged victim and the person
alleged to have committed the conduct, or where a protective order,
as defined in Section 6218 of the Family Code, is in effect, shall be
referred to the community conflict resolution program.

14153.  Both the alleged victim and the person alleged to have
committed the conduct shall knowingly and voluntarily consent to
participate in the ADR process conducted by the community conflict
resolution program.

14154.  In a county in which the district attorney has established a
community conflict resolution program, the superior court may, with
the consent of the district attorney and the defendant, refer
misdemeanor cases, including those brought by a city prosecutor, to
that program. In determining whether to refer a case to the community
conflict resolution program, the court shall consider, but is not
limited to considering, all of the following:
   (a) The factors listed in Section 14152.
   (b) Any other referral criteria established by the district
attorney for the program.
   The court shall not refer any case to the community conflict
resolution program which was previously referred to that program by
the district attorney.

14155.  (a) If the alleged victim or the person alleged to have
committed the conduct does not agree to participate in the community
conflict resolution program or the case is not resolved through the
ADR process provided by that program, the community conflict
resolution program shall promptly refer the case back to the district
attorney or to the court that made the referral for appropriate
action.
   (b) If the community conflict resolution program determines that a
case referred to it prior to the filing of a complaint has been
resolved through that referral, the program shall recommend to the
district attorney that the case not be prosecuted.
   (c) If a case referred to the community conflict resolution
program after the filing of a complaint but prior to adjudication is
resolved through that referral, the court may dismiss the action
pursuant to Section 1378 or 1385.

14156.  It is the intent of the Legislature that neither this title
nor any other provision of law be construed to preempt other
precomplaint or pretrial diversion programs. It is also the intent of
the Legislature that this title not preempt other posttrial
diversion programs.


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