POLICY & ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES
(Revised January 22, 2019)
JAMES E. PAXTON
District Attorney 6th JDC
Parishes of East Carroll, Madison and Tensas
6th Judicial District Attorney
PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION POLICY &
Provide a non-adjudicatory alternative disposition for offenders who are least likely to re-offend.
Provide a mechanism for appropriate offenders to receive restorative justice without the stigma of a criminal conviction while making victims of crime whole.
Reduce the caseloads of courts, public defenders, probation services and prosecutors in a manner that not jeopardize public safety.
Provide tailored, effective resources and rehabilitative programming to appropriate offenders in an effort to decrease the likelihood of reoffending.
Enhance public safety through appropriate and measured utilization of traffic safety initiatives.
Only cases with prosecutorial merit shall be eligible for diversion. Participation in any diversion is entirely voluntary.
Nothing herein shall in any manner diminish the Constitutional Authority of the District Attorney relating to charging conduct.
See Appendix "A" for detailed eligibility rules for pre-trial and traffic diversion.
Applicants for diversion may arise out of a request by a defendant, prosecutor recommendation, defense attorney recommendation, and court recommendation.
All files and applicants in any criminal, juvenile, and wildlife matters shall be screened for diversion by the District Attorney or a designated Assistant District Attorney.
Traffic matters may be pre-screened utilizing available technology and thereafter shall be approved by the District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney for consideration.
Screening Shall Include:
• Facts & circumstances relating to all files being considered;
• Criminal history of offender;
• The nature of the crime(s) for which diversion is sought;
• Victim's preferences;
• The impact on any victims;
• The impact on the community; and
• Any other relevant facts & circumstances.
If after screening, an offender is deemed suitable for pre-trial diversion, the file(s) shall be referred to the diversion section of the District Attorney's Office;
Thereafter, the screening division shall conduct an assessment of all pe1iinent factors in order to determine the appropriate level of programming required;
Programming May Include:
• Substance abuse evaluation and treatment;
• Anger management evaluation and treatment;
• Mental health evaluation and treatment;
• Financial management counseling;
• Parenting counseling;
• Relationship counseling;
• Community service;
• Accountability counseling;
• Educational requirements;
• Admission to conduct;
• Restitution to victims;
• Restitution to victims;
• Restitution to other stakeholders with expenditures related to case;
• Driver improvement programming;
• Probationary conditions;
• Prohibitive durations; and
• Any other programming reasonably related to the offense, the offender and preventing reoccurrence of the prohibited conduct.
Fees, Cost & Expenditures:
The District Attorney is authorized to charge a reasonable fee for participation in the program.
• Fee-only diversion is prohibited. Rather, the fee charged shall be reasonably calculated to cover the costs to operate the pre-trial diversion program, the level of programming provided to the participant, support victim's assistance programs, and the necessity to reimburse other criminal justice stakeholders within the judicial district for services provided.
• The District Attorney may consider shortfalls from prior year(s), as well as any anticipated surplus in setting fee schedules.
• The District Attorney should periodically review the fee schedules associated with diversion in order to assure reasonableness under the current local conditions.
• The inability to pay any such fee or a portion thereof shall not be the sole basis for rejection.
The District Attorney shall maintain records of the number of participants in diversion;
The District Attorney shall determine the percentage of cases diverted by category (criminal, juvenile, wildlife, and traffic).
All matters referred to the pre-trial diversion program shall remain active and pending until such time as a formal dismissal with prejudice is entered. As such, all such file materials and records are exempt from public records disclosure until such final disposition of the file(s).
Financial Record Keeping should comply with all applicable state law and best accounting practices scaled to the size, volume and capabilities of the individual office and program. No member should utilize a single employee to be responsible for collection, depositing, recording and reconciling of funds. Accountability and oversight are paramount. Each office that collects fees for diversion should maintain formal written policies and procedures relating to collections of and accounting for all such fees. Such policies and procedures should contain an adequate level of detail to enable frequent users and substitute personnel to understand their responsibilities. Such should address the functions of receiving, depositing, recording, and reconciling accounts. Members are encouraged to consult and implement the most recent publication when developing such policies and procedures. https://www.lla.la.gov/legalfaqs/ The LDAA may maintain an accurate copy of this publication (currently in draft format-9/2018), for dissemination at the request of members.
The District Attorney shall appoint an Assistant District Attorney to supervise and monitor admission to and participation in the PTI and Traffic programs. The appointment shall be on an annual basis beginning January 1, each year.
6th District Attorney
James E. Paxton
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS AND REGULATIONS
• The PTI program will require supervision with the District Attorney's office with a time period of 6 to 24 months depending on the nature of the offense. The District Attorney or Assistant Attorney may also require special conditions based on his view of the facts and circumstances of the case. The PTI Program will refer defendants to other programs that already exist in our community to fulfill certain requirements of the program. The District Attorney has full authority to deny or authorize any individual as a candidate for the PTI Program. Nothing herein shall be constructed to modify, limit or in any way inhibit the authority of the District Attorney as provided in the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 or the laws of our State.
o The charge is a misdemeanor or has been amended to a misdemeanor by the District Attorney's office (some felony violations may be deemed eligible by the district attorney based on the circumstances of the charge).
o The individual has no prior history or a criminal history that is insufficient to justify exclusion from the program.
o The individual agrees to fulfill the requirements and conditions of the PTI Program agreement as outlined by the PTI Director under the supervision of the District Attorney or Assistant District Attorney.
• Eligible defendants will be able to review a copy of the general requirements, costs and conditions of the PTI Program including normal program duration and possible outcomes prior to making a decision to enroll. The eligible defendants shall have sufficient time to evaluate the consequences of accepting or rejecting entry to the PTI Program.
• DWI 1st will have the same eligibility requirements mentioned above excluding those cases involving an accident causing injury to an individual or damage to personal property of others. Driver's DWI Class, Substance Abuse Evaluation, 48 hours community service, and
18 months of supervision are mandatory. DWI second or subsequent DWI offenders are not
eligible for the PTI Program without consent of the District Attorney.
• Domestic Abuse - As a general rule, domestic abuse cases are not eligible for the PTI Program. However, under very rare circumstances the District Attorney may allow participation based on the circumstances of the case and interviews with persons involved to assist a marriage or family that does not have a prior history of abuse or any other type of criminal history.
Requirements and Conditions:
• Must refrain from any criminal conduct.
• Must report to PTI officer monthly.
• Must be employed, an active student, or actively seeking employment.
• Must pay an enrollment fee (based on offense) and monthly supervision fees.
• Must pay restitution in cases that restitution is appropriate and evidence of amount has been proven.
• Community service is required by all participants. The number of community service hours are determined by the nature of the offense to be determined by the PTI Program Director with the approval of the District Attorney or supervising Assistant District Attorney.
• Special classes or treatment plans are required for certain offenses.
• Must report change of address or employment to PTI officer.
• Must not own or possess firearms or other dangerous weapons, except those used for hunting or recreational purposes and that are properly registered for use by you.
• Failure to comply within the allotted time for the program will result in either an extension of program or the case may be returned to the criminal department for full prosecution of the charges. The PTI Program retains the right to terminate the defendant from the program at any time the participant demonstrates unsatisfactory compliance with the program or other inappropriate, unsatisfactory conduct and the defendant shall not be entitled to a refund of monies paid to the program. If the District Attorney determines that in the interest of justice, the monies should be returned to the expelled defendant, he may authorize said refund.
TRAFFIC DIVERSION Generally traffic offenses not eligible shall include:
• Any accident with injury;
• Any moving violation which includes flight from law enforcement;
• Any offender with 3 or more prior moving violations within a 2 year period.
• Any, offender who receives a violation of speeding in excess of 100 mph on a state highway or interstate highway.
REQUIREMENTS OF PARTICIPATION IN TRAFFIC DIVERSION:
• Participants must provide proof either online or through the mail that they have read and understand the Traffic Education material associated with the Diversion Program. The material consists of Louisiana laws that relate to traffic violations in general. This education is provided to enhance driver knowledge, reinforce highway safety and future obedience to the traffic laws.
• Participants must pay a fee which includes a diversion fee to the District Attorney's office and also pay an amount equal to the fine amount for conviction to reimburse agencies for costs related to the cases which are dive1ied. However, fees may be lowered or waived by the District Attorney based on individual need due to indigency or other appropriate circumstances.
• Participants of the program shall have their speeding charge amended to a non-moving violation, dismissed or rejected by the District Attorney at his discretion.