Settlement Conferences Help Resolve Criminal Cases: Judge Conducted Settlement Conferences Can Reduce the Time Needed to Resolve Cases While Ensuring a Balanced Outcome

By Emrey, Jolly A. | Justice System Journal, May 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Settlement Conferences Help Resolve Criminal Cases: Judge Conducted Settlement Conferences Can Reduce the Time Needed to Resolve Cases While Ensuring a Balanced Outcome


Emrey, Jolly A., Justice System Journal


Robert L. Gottsfield and Mitch Michkowski, "Settlement Conferences Help Resolve Criminal cases: Judge Conducted Settlement Conferences Can Reduce the Time Needed to Resolve cases While Ensuring a Balanced Outcome," Judicature 90 (March-April 2007): 196-199, 235.

The authors, a retired but full-time judge of the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, who at the time of publication participated in forty to sixty settlement conferences a month, and a civil court administrator and senior researcher for the same, discuss settlement conferences in criminal cases, an experimental reform implemented in Maricopa County beginning in 1997. These settlement conferences were designed to facilitate pleas and to alleviate the burden of criminal-trial courts. At conference, judges inform defendants about the charges and instruct them with respect to the consequences of a plea versus the consequences of going to trial and getting convicted and being sentenced. Settlement conferences are attended by judges serving on criminal courts (and some assigned to civil courts), defendants, and prosecuting and defense attorneys. One of the original objectives of these settlements was to allow the judge to confer with the prosecutor's office if during the settlement conference it was found that the original plea agreement offered was too harsh.

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Settlement Conferences Help Resolve Criminal Cases: Judge Conducted Settlement Conferences Can Reduce the Time Needed to Resolve Cases While Ensuring a Balanced Outcome
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