A New Model for D.C's Community Court
In 2012, PSA collaborated with D.C. Superior Court and U.S. Attorney’s Office to expand the new “Community Court” model, in which low risk defendants are eligible for diversion after completing court-ordered community service. PSA provides enhanced courtroom coverage to ensure the success of this critical initiative. The new Community Court evolved from the East of the River Community Court (ERCC), which was established in 2002 as one of a few specialty courts established by the D.C. Superior Court that require specialized caseload assignment; and had jurisdiction over U.S. misdemeanor cases other than domestic violence arising from arrests in the 6th and 7th police districts. The Community Court’s fundamental aim is to provide diversion opportunities, when appropriate, to defendants possessing the eligibility criteria for a specified deferred prosecution or deferred sentencing option. Diversion can include, but is not limited to, PSA’s Drug Court, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s First Time Offender Program or mediation. When defendants complete the program successfully, their criminal charges are dismissed. D.C. is the only jurisdiction in the country which has expanded its Community Court throughout its entire geographic area.