2019 California Code
Penal Code - PEN
Section 14150.

Universal Citation: CA Penal Code § 14150 (2019)

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.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 696, Sec. 91. Effective September 15, 1992.)

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