Follow Up Report - Publications and Resources

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Follow Up Report - Publications and Resources
THE
AMERICAN
UNIVERSITY
WASHINGTON, D.C
Repor t and Recommendations
Of The American Un iversity Study Team
On the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Criminal Justice System
FOLLOW-UP REPORT
March 1989
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.
INTRODUCTION
A. Background of this Study
II.
1
1. Focus of the 1982 Study
1
2. Focus of this Follow-up Study
2
B. Organization of the Follow-up Report
3
FINDINGS
5
A.
5
Problems That Have Emerged Since the 1982 Report
1.
B.
District Attorney's Office Staffing
5
Chart I:
9
Felony and Misdemeanor Cases Per
District Attorney, 1979 - 1988
Chart II: Felony and Misdemeanor Cases Per
Superior Court Judge, 1979 - 1988
10
2.
Drugs and Drug-Related Offenses
11
3.
Jail Crowding
12
Assessment of Criminal Justice System Issues Addressed
in the 1982 Report
12
1.
Overview of Crime Statistics and the Criminal Justice
System in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
12
2.
System Coordination
14
3.
Identification and Intake
15
a.
17
b.
c.
d.
Time Required of Arresting Officers at Intake
Presentment
Early Prosecutorial Screening and Defense Involvement
Pretrial Services
The Initial Release Hearing
17
18
19
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Continued)
4.
III.
Caseflow Management
20
a.
District Court
20
b.
Superior Court
21
5.
Information Systems
21
6.
Criminal Justice System Relations With the Community
25
AGENDA FOR FURTHER ACTION
27
A.
Prosecutor and Judicial Resources
27
B.
Anti-Drug Abuse Efforts
27
C.
Information System Improvements
28
D.
Jail Capacity Management
28
E.
Criminal Justice System Coordination
28
APPENDICES:
A.
Individuals Interviewed By the Study Team
B.
Mecklenburg County Population Trends
C.
Charlotte Arrest Data: 1981 - 1987
1.
2.
D.
Arrests by Charlotte Police by Calendar Years
Arrests by Mecklenburg County Police by Calendar Years
Description of Live Finger Scan Technology
I. INTRODUCTION
A.
Background of this Study
1.
Focus of the 1982 Study
During the Spring of 1982, The American University conducted a study of the
criminal justice process in Charlotte-Mecklenburg at the request of the CharlotteMecklenburg City and County Governments.
The study was undertaken in response to
citizen concern over an increase in residential burglary and several incidents of recent
crime specifically and the apparent fragmentation of local criminal justice agencies in
The focus of the study was upon inter-
dealing with crime problems generally.
organizational relations and the interaction of the various agencies constituting the
criminal justice system.
Recommendations were made in four areas:
(I) improvement in
system operation and defendant flow, from arrest to sentencing; (2) improvement in
information
flow;
(3)
improvement in
public
education and
information; and
(4)
improvement in mechanisms for ongoing system analysis and coordination.
In June 1982, the study team presented a report containing its analysis and
recommendations and organized in the following seven sections:
Section I
A brief overview of crime statistics
justice system in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Section II
Discussion of the need for a coordinating mechanism in the
criminal justice system and proposal for an Office of
Criminal Justice System Coordinator
Section III
Recommendation for a major restructuring of current
criminal intake procedures and institution of a model intake
process
Section IV
Description of current misdemeanor and felony
case
processing and proposal for a caseflow management policy to
improve case processing
Section V
Description of the criminal justice information systems and
suggestions on areas where improvements could be made,
including a procedure to upgrade the Defendant-in-Process
System (DIPS)
Section VI
Description of citizens' perceptions of the criminal justice
system and proposals for various means to improve system
responsiveness to public concerns and public understanding
of the system
Section VII
Outline of short
recommendations.
term
action
steps
and
to
the
criminal
implement
study
2.
Focus of this Follow-up Study
Among the immediate actions which the study team recommended to initiate
implementation of the report was the creation of a five-member, high-level Citizen
Criminal Justice Commission, to be appointed jointly by the Mayor of Charlotte, the
Chairman of the County Commission and the Chairman of the State Legislative delegation.
The purpose of the Commission was to provide public oversight for the implementation of
the criminal justice improvement program outlined in the report and to serve as a
supporting force to help the system achieve its goals.
The Commission was appointed in
1983 and consisted of: Dr. Jay Robinson, Rev. Leon Riddick, Sis Kaplan, Rolfe Neill and
John A. Tate, who served as chairman.
In 1985, Dr. Robinson resigned when he moved
out the area and was replaced by David Burkhalter.
Shortly after appointment, the
Commission reviewed the American University Report and developed an implementation
plan which served as its agenda for the next five years.
In the Fall of 1988, City and County Government officials asked the American
University to reassemble the 1982 study team to review the actions taken to implement
the 1982 report, assess the degree to which the improvement program outlined at that
time had been achieved and to outline the direction which future crimina l justice system
improvement efforts should take.
In this regard, it was requested that special attention
be given to any continued role which the Citizens Criminal Justice Commission should
play.
In response to this request, the American University reassembled the following
members of the 1982 study team: Bruce Beaudin, former Director of the Pretrial Services
Agency of the District of Columbia and now a judge on the District of Columbia Superior
Court; Larry P. Polansky, Executive Officer for the District of Columbia Courts and an
authority on court automation; Jerry V. Wilson, former Chief of the Metropolitan Police
of the District of Columbia; Joseph A. Trotter, Jr., Director of the Bureau of Justice
Assistance Adjudication Technical Assistance Project, which has been providing technical
assistance in the jail crowding area to Mecklenburg County, and Caroline S. Cooper,
Director of Court Services for that project.
In addition, two new team members were
appointed: David J. Saari, professor of judicial administration at the American University
and a specialist in caseflow management; and, under the auspices of the Adjudication
Technical Assistance Project, Andrew Sonner, State's Attorney for Montgomery County,
Maryland.
The team conducted a total of twenty person days of site work during
December 1988 - February 1989, focussing primarily upon interviews with city and county
government officials, criminal justice system representatives and Commission members;
2
review of relevant statistics and other information provided by the District Attorney, the
Trial Court Administrator, City and County Police officials, and the state Administrative
Office of the Courts; and observation of proceedings and procedures relevant to the
criminal caseflow process.
A list of the individuals with whom the study team met is
provided in Appendix A.
B.
Organization of the Follow-up Report
During the course of the site work, it became evident that several significant issues
have developed since the 1982 study was conducted, which require not only immediate
action but also contribute to the context within which progress in achieving the 1982
report recommendations must be assessed.
two sections.
For this reason, the report is organized in
The first provides an overview of developments which have occurred since
the 1982 report relevant to the criminal justice process in Charlotte-Mecklenburg which
require immediate attention and which must be taken into account in any efforts
undertaken to implement the 1982 report.
The second addresses, section by section, the
implementation efforts made to date and the recommended focus for any further actions
needed.
In
presenting
this
follow-up
report,
the
team
wishes
to
acknowledge
the
contribution of certain entities and individuals who played a special part in working
toward the goals of the criminal justice improvement program outlined in the 1982 report.
The Citizens Criminal Justice Commission (CCJC) has played an extraordinary role
during the past five years as both overseer and catalyst for justice system improvement.
Both the quality and intensity of effort and accomplishment which that body has brought
about demonstrate a remarkable degree of public service -- not only because its members
were thrust into controversial areas involving the expenditure of public funds but also
because their work required them to throw themselves thoroughly into an area of
government and activity with which they had no significant prior experience or expertise.
Their untiring commitment to the concept of better justice has served as a milestone for
the entire community and their continued existence and role as public oversees of the
quality of criminal justice in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is essential.
Once the Commission was established and in place, the day to day responsibilities of
bringing into reality the justice system improvement goals outlined in the 1982 report fell
largely upon Tom Cameron, who took over the newly expanded role of trial court
administrator.
It is always difficult to be the "first" in a newly established position
which requires not only performance of specified functions but, in addition, the forging
3
of a facilitating role within the local and state community.
Mr. Cameron took on this
challenge and has performed it well.
The accomplishments of the CCJC and the trial court administrator are, of course,
also testimony to the extraordinary cooperation of state, county and city governments
which has characterized the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system and which
holds the promise for continued system improvement. Implementation of the 1982 Report
recommendations has required a joint, intergovernmental effort the response to which far
exceeded the expectations of the study team.
Particular note is made of the dedication,
commitment and cooperation of the Superior Court Clerk, City and County Police Chiefs,
the Sheriff, District Attorney, City and County Managers, Superior and District Court
Judges, the Administrative Director of the North Carolina staff and his staff toward
accomplishment of the study objectives.
The creation of the CCJC and trial court
administrator positions alone, as outlined in the 1982 Report, required joint action,
authorization and compromise on the part of city, county and state governmental bodies.
In
addition,
these
entities
implementation process.
have
provided
substantial
financial
support
to
the
The County, alone, has expended over $20 million solely for
construction of the new intake center, a new Criminal Courts Building, renovation of the
current court facility, and development of the information system.
The City has also
made substantial financial outlay, including the enhancement of police personnel by 18%.
The state has already enhanced certain justice system functions it supports which the
study team hopes is a precursor for more systematic review of local resource needs.
All
of these accomplishments in a large sense reflect the community's support of and
response to the untiring efforts of Judge Frank Snepp who is at the heart of this
criminal justice system improvement effort and, as senior resident judge in CharlotteMecklenburg, has spearheaded efforts to
maintain the quality of the local criminal
justice process and assure its responsiveness to changing needs.
It should be noted that the
requirements of the system.
1982 report deliberately did not address resource
However, in conducting this five year "assessment", the
study team could not help but be alarmed by a roughly 50% increase in criminal caseload
with only a 10% increase in resources overa 11 and virtually no increase in resources for
prosecution.
While the assessment is aimed at fine tuning system efforts to maximize
resource effectiveness, we have made some comment on pressing resource needs.
4
II. FINDINGS
A.
Problems That Have Emerged Since the 1982 Report
1.
District Attorney's Office Staffing
The District Attorney last received an increase in staff in 1979.
time, crime has risen 72% in Charlotte:
Since that
a 1410/o increase in violent crimes which require
significant prosecutorial resources, and a 64% increase in property crimes, detailed as
follows:
rape
aggrav. asst.
robberies
larcenies
burglaries
1979
1987
115
1,617
703
12,559
6,676
308
4,146
1,486
21,723
10,117
% increase
+168%
+156%
+113%
+73%
+52%
Misdemeanor and felony filings have also risen at an escalating rate as the
chart below demonstrates:
Y£uu:.
1978-79
1979-80
1980-81
1981-82
1982-83
1983-84
1984-85
1985-86
1986-87
1987-88
Misdm. Filings
% Increase
over 1978
69,441
79,072
79,342
78,897
81,379
102,029
96,140
104,926
120,663
126,712
14%
14%
14%
17%
47%
38%
5 1%
74%
82%
Felony Filings
1,585
1,867
2,198
2,796
2,753
2,873
2,926
3,332
3, 114
3,241
% Increa se
Over 1978
18%
39%
76%
74%
81%
85%
110%
96%
104%
During the same period, the population has grown at an average rate of 18%,
from 404,270 in 1980 to a projected 478,000 in 1990. 1
The City has responded to this activity by increasing police personnel by 18%,
adding 93 additional uniformed officers (710 to 807) and 85 additional support staff (128
to 233).
1
The state increased its support for indigent defense services, augmenting the
See Appendix B for population data.
5
number of public defender attorneys from 8 in 1978 to 19 in 1987, with a current annual
budget for the office of approximately $1 million which is supplemented with assigned
counsel resources which increased from $100,000 to $800,000 during the period.
The
substantial support of indigent defense services over the period has made it possible for
the public defender to call upon private counsel as a relief valve when the public
def ender's caseload is too heavy. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is the only jurisdiction we know
of where public spending for indigent defense exceeds that for the prosecution.
From 1979 until now, the District Attorney's staff of nineteen assistants has
remained constant, with a current budget of $1.2 million with which to handle a caseload
represented by an indigent defense complement with 33% more resources as well as
additional representation provided by the private bar.
Despite the failure to receive additional resources commensurate with the
increased pattern of criminal activity, the District Attorney has managed to prosecute the
caseload significantly more expeditiously than either of the other two largest counties in
North Carolina as indicated by the following statistics on pending caseloads and pending
case ages as of December 31, 1988:
County
Population (l 988 est.)
Mecklenburg
Wake County (Raleigh)
Guilford County (Greensboro)
475,000
374,000
333,000
Felony Cases Pending: December 31. 1988:
County
Mecklenburg
Wake
Guilford
Misdeme!,lnQr
Total
Pending
919
1,141
1,438
~ases
90 Days
or less
470
628
664
Pending:
County
Total
Pending
Mecklenburg
Wake
Guilford
512
1,725
160
91-120
days
121-180
days
191-365
days
1-2
Yrs.
over
117
91
214
169
159
220
108
191
189
37
68
126
18
4
25
121-180
days
191-365
days
1-2
Yrs.
D~cember ~I.
90 Days
Qr less
280
987
75
~
1288:
91-120
days
44
1,249
29
65
224
30
6
66
225
19
28
85
2
0
v
~
29
5
5
e
r
As would be expected, the caseload of each District Attorney has increased
dramatically during the period, particularly for misdemeanors, as indicated in the
following chart:
D.A.s
Filings
Dispositions
Felony Filings Per D.A.
Misd. Filings Per D.A.
19
19
74,000
70,000
164/DA
5,285/DA
12,6000
12,2000
173/DA
6,631/DA
The percent increase in misdemeanor and felony case filings in comparison to
the percent increase in district attorneys and judges during the period is depicted on
Charts I and II on pages 9 and 10.
While
the
felony
caseload
of each
district attorney
has
increased
only
minimally, from 164 to 173, or 6% over the period, the misdemeanor caseload per district
attorney has increased by 25%, more than 1,346 cases each.
The impact that the increased criminal activity has placed upon the District
Attorney and citizens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg is far greater than the caseload statistics
alone suggest.
The office is modern and well managed and has developed a number of
innovative screening and diversion
programs
to process its caseload
expeditiously.
Nevertheless, the burden that the felony and misdemeanor caseload has placed 2 on the
District Attorney's Office has been extraordinary, with staff required to work evenings
and weekends constantly just to keep up and the District Attorney, himself, required to
carry a significant trial workload.
The various measures that the District Attorney has instituted have not been
adequate to accommodate the rise of criminal activity and the District Attorney has been
forced into a position of having to dismiss or reduce cases that are not on their face
"winnable" as charged, and to select for prosecution only those cases that make the best
public use of the limited prosecutorial resources available.
Prosecutors must target cases
for prosecution where witnesses appear and where all of the factors favoring prosecution
are positive at the time the case is to be heard.
If a case falters for any reason--
poor testimony, absent witnesses, incomplete investigation, etc., it is a prime candidate
for dismissal.
2
The District Attorney must also handle juvenile and support enforcement
matters arising out of domestic relations proceedings.
Caseloads in each of these
areas has also increased.
7
Furthermore, both an active and
responsible public def ender office and
supplemental private attorneys offering further criminal defense services continually
confront these 19 prosecutors to assure due process and compliance with statutorily
prescribed criminal case processing time standards.
for
example.
Administrative
Office
of
the
During the last six months of 1988,
Courts
statistics
indicate
that
felony
dispositions in Mecklenburg County totalled 1,663 of which 483 (29%) were dismissed.
These dismissals included by original charge 4 murder cases. 13 rape or lst degree sex
offenses, 24 robberies; 14 assaults; 73 burglaries; 79 larcenies; 24 forgeries; 51 fraud
activity; 109 controlled substance offenses plus 92 other felonies.
These figures do not
reflect additional felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. Misdemeanor dismissal rates
follow a similar pattern.
The de facto result of the dismissal rate, coupled with the additional cases
which the District Attorney declines to prosecute, has been the decriminalization of
certain offenses -- not for policy reasons, but simply because of the failure to provide
adequate prosecutorial resources.
The wrong message is being given to the community.
What was noted as a "definite possibility for imbalance in the system" arising out of the
state and local ratio of criminal justice system expenditures in 1982, 3 has now become an
acute crisis.
Concerned that prosecutorial resources had not increased commensurate with
the rising criminal activity and the increased law enforcement and indigent defense
support
afforded
during
the period,
the study
Administrative Office of the Courts staff.
team discussed
the problem
with
AOC staff noted that prosecutorial and other
court resources were allocated to each county according to a complex formula designed
to spread limited resources equitably among the state's 100 counties and that comparative
caseloads across the states had not changed.
was under study.
The staff also indicated that the formula
While the study team docs not intend to begin to assess the merits of
the state formula for allocating judicial system resources within the state, the formula
does not work for Mecklenburg County if it produces the result which it has.
3.
Report and Recommendations of The American University Study Team on the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Justice System. 1982. page 18.
8
CHARLOTTE
I
MECKLENBURG COUNTY
CHART I: CASES & D.A.'S -
% INCREASE FY 79 -
88
1.2
110%
1. 1
1
0.9
w
0.8
er:
~
0.7
-z
0.6
8 %
(/}
()
I-
z
w
47%
0.5
()
er:
w
CL
0.4
27%
0.3
0.2
27%
27%
27%
27%
'82
'83
'84
'85
27%
27%
2 %
'87
'88
14%
0.1
0
0
'79
0
MISD. FILINGS
'80
'81
+
FELONY FILINGS
9
1
86
D.A.'S
CHARLOTTE
CHART II:
I
MECKLENBURG COUNTY
CASES & SUP. JUD. % INCREASE FY 79 -
88
1.2
110%
1. 1
10 %
1
0.9
w
0.8
GS
O:'.:
0.7
-z
0.6
8 %
((}
0
f-
z
w
47%
0.5
0
O:'.:
w
a..
0.4
0.3
0.2
14%
14%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
'81
'82
'83
'84
'85
'86
'87
0.1
0
'79
0
MISD. FILE
'80
+
FEL. FILE
10
SUP .CT. JUD.
'88
Solutions to the current state of affairs can come from two approaches.
On
the one hand, the local county government can supplement the District Attorney's budget
by local appropriations for additional prosecutors. Such an approach has local precedent.
The local roads are maintained and built with county funds even where the State has the
primary obligation.
The same approach is used for school programs.
If the County
wishes a level of services higher than the State provides, the county pays for it locally.
The County might take the same approach for prosecutive services by simply creating
additional prosecutor positions.
There is, however, some legal question about whether
This question must be
locally-funded District Attorneys can represent the State.
resolved.
In
the event
that state law
prohibits locally
funded
district attorneys,
consideration should be given to using paralegals to a much greater extent.
This has
been the approach of private law firms to cut costs and / or increase profits.
The
Mecklenburg County District Attorney could use locally-funded paralegals who could do a
major portion of behind-the-scenes processing, diversion, as well as case preparation.
This would avoid the core legal question, but it would more than likely require a partial
retreat from the vertical case processing system the District Attorney's Office currently
uses. 4
The other "solution" to the underfunding problem is to somehow obtain more
State funding.
This solution would avoid the political "cost" and precedential danger of
the
taking
County's
disadvantages.
over
a
state
fiscal
function
which
could
have
long-range
However, the likelihood of obtaining significant additional state funding
within the near future appears unlikely.
The prospects for changing the system, the
dynamics and the procedure are equally bleak.
But these roads should be constantly
explored and the channels continuously used.
2.
Drugs and Drug-Related Offenses
Almost everyone with whom the study team spoke noted drugs as a real or
potential problem.
While the extent of the drug problem has yet to be documented, a
number of issues were raised by the various individuals interviewed which bear on the
drug problem and include: the presence of a Jamaican population known to be associated
4
The vertical assignment of cases is a controversial question in Mecklenburg
County. Some judges believe that the District Attorneys should be assigned courtrooms
with stacks of cases rather than stay with cases from beginning to end. Some
adjustment might be made in this organization but would require further study.
11
with drugs; the relationship between drug activity and professional sports in Charlotte;
and the use of drugs in the workplace, particularly among white collar employees. Police
officials also noted the problem of prosecutor dismissals of misdemeanor drug cases which
are undoubtedly a response to resource limitations rather than policy. The basic question
needs to be answered, however:
What is the nature of the drug problem in Charlotte-
Mecklenburg? Is it mostly marijuana, pill popping and occasional use of cocaine, perhaps
with very few addiction related robberies, burglaries, and thefts?
Or is there a great
deal of serious addiction to substances such as cocaine, heroin and crack, with a major
impact on property crimes by addicts supporting habits, and with the potential for an
influx of dealers from other cities with the possibility for turf battles?
3.
Jail Crowding
A significant problem facing the jurisdiction at this time appears to be jail-
overcrowding.
While the problem is beyond the focus of this study, it has already been
addressed by several independent studies 5 that have presented a number of remedial
suggestions.
Those that appear to have the greatest potential impact are:
the expansion
of Pretrial screening to address all defendants going through the intake process; the
inclusion of a District Attorney screening process at Intake; on-line availability of
criminal history records; and the replacement of the magisterial operation with an
adversarial hearing before a law trained judge.
We believe that such a hearing would
not require a 24-hour operation but could be easily and professionally handled with a 1216 hour process.
In addition, consideration might also be given to entering into inter-
county compacts with adjacent counties to alleviate that portion of the jail crowding
problem attributed to the non-release of citizens of adjacent counties.
B.
Assessment of Criminal Justice System Issues Addressed in the 1982 Reoort
I.
Overview of Crime Statistics and the Criminal Justice System in CharlotteMecklenburg
A comparison of Uniform Crime Report data for Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County with that for cities of comparable size and with state and national trends
demonstrates that Charlotte has become a typical urban area with crime problems similar
to those which other urban areas face.
5
See Mecklenburg County. North Carolina Technical Assistance on Jail Crowding
and Incarceration Alternatives. July - August 1988. NIC - Jail Center TA 88-Jl257
and review of the Operation of the Mecklenburg County. North Carolina Pretrial
Services Department. December 1988. Adjudication Technical Assistance Project, T.A.
No. 176.
12
•
Reported serious offenses in Charlotte have increased steadily since 1983 and
have significantly surpassed national averages in each category and, except for rape and
motor vehicle theft, have surpassed North Carolina averages also.
Discussion with police officials indicated that they perceive that much of the
increased crime, beyond that attributed to population growth, results from drug offenders
stealing in order to support their habits.
A comparison of the statistics on "offenses
reported" with actual Charlotte arrest data for the last two years, indicates a 36%
increase in arrests for the 1981 - 1987 period.
These figures include arrest increases for
rape (up 16%); robbery (up 36%); aggravated assault (up 29%); arson (up 160%); drug
offenses (up 161%) embezzlement (up 178%); stolen property (up 80%); and weapons
violations (up 94%). 6
This arrest data reflects the number of persons arrested and will
therefore vary from prosecutorial statistics which reflect the number of charges booked.
The predominant issue regarding crime in Charlotte-Mecklenburg at this time
appears
to
center on
whether
the
police are
making unnecessary
prosecutor is dropping too many charges that should go to court.
arrests or the
Although the issue
centers ostensibly around misdemeanor arrests, its impact goes far beyond the specific
offenses involved.
Prosecution of misdemeanor arrests are important to law enforcement
generally for a number of reasons.
misdemeanors
because
those
are
First, serious offenders, sometimes are arrested for
the
only
crimes
that
can
be
proved.
Second,
enforcement of traffic regulations, which apparently is one of the areas at issue, is
highly important to public safety. Third, the police, at least, believe that the community
of Charlotte does not want a permissive attitude towards public use of drugs.
Finally,
research has demonstrated that the diminished policing of misdemeanors can lead to the
diminished quality of life in communities.
Several fundamental questions arise. For example, if cases are being dismissed
principally because of inadequate resources in the prosecutor's office, and not for
philosophical reasons, is it not possible to obtain more prosecutorial resources?
And,
recognizing that there always will be a need for the establishment of priorities as to
what cases are presented for trial, is it not feasible for the criminal justice community
to develop some type of first offender treatment programs such as diversion, civil
restitution or performance of community service, instead of outright dismissal of valid
charges?
6
See Appendix C.
13
2.
System Coordination
The 1982 Study team noted a number of coordination problems arising from the
diffused governmental responsibility for case processing and the corresponding diffusion
in funding responsibility which exist in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Coordination among these
criminal justice system components has improved markedly since that time.
As noted earlier in
the Introduction to
this report, to overcome these
problems, the study team recommended the creation of a Criminal Justice System
Coordinator position to be selected by and answer to the collective body of major
officials in the case processing segment of the system and to be responsible for case
processing, including serving as a liaison with all criminal justice agencies; development
of the DIPS system; public information; and other functions relating to the formulation
and implementation of case processing goals and objectives.
The study team also
recommended that the Criminal Justice System Coordinator report to a Citizens Criminal
Justice Commission, also described in the Introduction, which should be composed of five
persons appointed jointly by the Mayor, Chairman of the County Commission and
Chairman of the County Legislative Delegation. The Commission was designed to provide
public oversight of the system and support in the achievement of the case processing
goals developed.
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission, which was established, and the
work that this body has accomplished outpaces the most optimistic expectations that the
study team had when it submitted its 1982 report.
The courage, independence and vigor
which mark the CJCC's work over the past five years and its faithful adherence to the
1982 report agenda has had a major impact on the justice system in CharlotteMecklenburg.
We recognize the great individual efforts which each of the members has
made individually as well as the collective accomplishments of the Commission.
believe
that
this
body
must
continue
to
assure
the
presence of
the
We
leadership,
coordination, accountability and balance which the system requires.
Mr. Cameron, whose position and responsibilities were not intended to be the
embodiment of the CJS Coordinator position recommended, has, nonetheless, done an
excellent job in facilitating improved communication and coordination among the various
components of the system as well as overseeing implementation of the Justice System
Master Plan, including the construction of the Intake Center and the new Criminal
Courts Building, and has been an influential participant in the development of the
recommended information system.
14
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission, which was established, and the
work that this body has accomplished outpaces the most optimistic expectations that the
study team had when it submitted its 1982 report.
The courage, independence and vigor
which mark the CJCC's work over the past five years and its faithful adherence to the
1982 report
agenda
Mecklenburg.
has had
a
major
impact on
the justice system in Charlotte-
We recognize the great individual efforts which each of the members has
made individually as well as the collective accomplishments of the Commission.
believe
that
this
body
must
continue
to
assure
the
presence
of
the
We
leadership,
coordination, accountability and balance which the system requires.
3.
Identification and Intake
In its 1982 report, the study team identified the need for the collection of
accurate
information,
in a
speedy
manner,
so
that ill decision-makers --
police,
magistrates, defense and, of course, judges -- could make quicker, more informed
decisions with regard to the appropriate processing of recently arrested people.
Among
the concerns highlighted included:
-
better 1 iden tifica ti on of arrestees;
better assessment of background of arrestees for pretrial release;
better release decisions by magistrates;
better screening of cases by the prosecutor;
better initial preparation of cases by police;
better investigation and assessment of cases by the public def ender;
better perceptions by all concerned with the notion of even-handed justice
It was, and continues to be, our belief that the appearance of justice and its
administration, as well as the actual results of the decisions made, indicate the level of
commitment of any jurisdiction to seeing that its citizens are treated equally and justly.
The vision which the study team had of the Intake Center was more like the
Philadelphia "First Appearance" process in which a law trained judge in a robe would
decide whether to incarcerate an arrestee after a hearing where there was a Public
Defender and an Assistant District Attorney providing an adversarial review of the need
for pre-trial incarceration.
Further, the hearing would be held in a location in which,
although the arrestees were clearly in custody, there would be an opportunity for the
public to view the decision-making process -- a process which all could agree was
1
Better, as used here, connotes in many instances earlier attention to matters
as well as to an upgrade of the quality of that work.
15
providing a fair and just result as well as showing the public a system of justice that
has the appearance of doing justice.
There is no doubt that the opening of the newly constructed Intake Center
will play an important role in community perceptions of justice.
We are very much
impressed with both its physical design and intentions expressed by various participants
as to how the new facility is to be u sed.
It seems that the design of people flow and
paper flow recommended in 1982 will be effected -- and that is good.
In our discussions with system participants, we have noted a real interest and
willingness to follow the suggestions of the 1982 report and these commitments are
reflected in the stone and mortar soon to be put to use.
While it is obvious that we have not seen the "new" system in operation, we
arc concerned with four potential trouble spots:
There is some question as to the amount of time arresting officers will
be required to spend at intake presentment;
It does not appear that early
involvement will occur at intake;
prosecutorial screening
does not appear that Pretrial services will be in a
interview and prepare reports for all arrestees; and
It
and
defense
position to
It does not appear that the initial bail hearing as we envisioned it 8
will be implemented.
8
"
. . The process described . . . should produce an initial hearing that
comports with our notions of justice. Some of the benefits include: the setting will
be more formal -- unlike the helter-skelter approach to hearings that now exists;
security will be more certain since the processing "stations" will separate the
def end ants from the public and each other -- unlike the present crowded and, many
times, unsupervised conditions; information (initial data entry) will be consistent
and reliable since it will be entered by Magistrates' clerks trained and responsible- unlike the present system where each of the several Magistrates enters data
inconsistently; the prosecutor will have screened out many cases and will begin
preparation of his own file to be used later at presentment, preliminary hearing or
trial -- unlike the present situation in which many cases are dumped into the system
and later screened out by the prosecutor and in which the misdemeanor presentment
courts, 61a and b, cannot proceed until the prosecutor receives the court file which
contains a copy of the warrant, the sine ffiill. non of prosecutorial decision making; the
defender has met with the defendant and is able to assist at the initial bail hearing;
the defenda nt may participate in a process which is more understandable than the
present process, which is disjointed, dysfunctional, and a t times, dyspeptic; and the
public will be exposed to a process that right at the beginning has the appearance of
justice as distinct from that which they now see. . . " Report and Recommendations of
The American University Study Team on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Justice
System. July 1982. pp. 39 - 40.
16
Each of these concerns is discussed briefly below.
a.
Time Required of Arresting Officers at Intake Presentment
Officials in both police agencies expressed concern over the time required
of arresting officers at the intake presentment and appeared skeptical that police
delivering arrestees to the new intake center will be in and out in only a few minutes.
One police official estimated that pre-trial service activities will need thirty minutes to
obtain requisite information before the prisoner is presented to the magistrate.
officials do not anticipate such a problem.
Court
They estimate that 45% of the arrestees will
have been arrested on warrants previously issued so that the arresting officer can merely
turn the prisoner over to the Intake Center duty officer who will present him or her to
the magistrate and the arresting officer can promptly return to patrol.
It is estimated
that another 40% of the arrestees will have been arrested on straight-forward charges
which also can be presented by the duty officer without presence of the arresting
officer.
b.
Early Prosecutorial Screening and Defense Involvement
The facility has been constructed to accommodate a prosecutorial and
defense presence in furtherance of the concepts we suggested.
Conversations with local
officials lead us to conclude that prosecutors will not be available 24 hours a day nor
will defense attorneys.
For all the reasons cited in our original report 9 we think a
reexamination of any such decision is in order.
9
"
In addition to the compelling reasons of justice, there are practical
reasons for appointing counsel at this early stage even if only for purposes of
presentment. Such reasons include: representation at bail setting; ability to commence
early investigation; ability to begin early plea bargaining on cases which will
clearly be retained by the Defender and not assigned to other counsel; and early
determination of indigency and the need for counsel . . . Additional practical reasons
for prosecutorial presence at the Magistrate level include:
appearance a the bail
setting stage to protect the general interests of the County; ability to interact with
police at an early stage and provide guidance for additional investigation or explain
reasons for a decision not to prosecute; ability to "create" the file to be used in
other courts early, completely, and with appropriate directions for other prosecutors
ultimately responsible for handling the case; ability to commence the process of plea
negotiation at the earliest possible time; and ability to participate in a general
upgrading of the perception of justice administered at the magistrate level . . . "
Report and Recommendations of the American University Study Team on the CharlotteMecklcnburg Criminal Justice System, July 1982, pp. 42-44.
17
c.
Pretrial Services
We note that the Intake Center has been designed to accommodate
"prisoner flow" to permit pretrial services personnel to interview and conduct background
information checks of all people arrested.
We have been told that 16-18 additional
people will be needed for this function and, as yet, are not available. We have also been
told that no plans are underway to test arrestees for drug usage although the facilities
exist to permit such tests.
In December of 1988, because of a jail crowding problem, the Pretrial
Services
Resource Center,
under
the aegis of
the Bureau of
Justice
Assistance's
Adjudication Technical Assistance Project, and at the request of Mecklenburg County,
conducted a study of the Pretrial Services Department and suggested that while it had
accomplished much, it still was able to interview Q.!lly 46% of those arrested.
When that
number is reduced to the number actually released -- about 30% -- the effect is that 70%
of those arrested -- all of whom must have release conditions determined -- do not have
reports available to those who make the release decisions, be they magistrates, District
Court Judges or Circuit Court Judges.
Earlier, in August of 1988, the National Institute of Corrections, again at
the request of Mecklenburg County because of jail overcrowding, had conducted a study
and concluded that the Pretrial Services Agency should "expand its already excellent
program." 10
Because conditions of release must be set by someone in nearly every
case, a report containing background information that includes social, demographic,
criminal, medical (including alcohol and drug abuse) and employment histories should be
available.
In many cases, District and even Circuit Court Judges must reevaluate
conditions imposed by the Magistrate with little or no information available.
We are also concerned that no apparent effort is underway to assess the
extent of drug use in the arrestee population.
routinely assess such use and at a modest cost.
There exist several programs that
Considering the economic growth of
Mecklenburg County, together with its location near one of the main "crack" (cocaine)
pipelines between New York and Miami, we believe that it is only a matter of time until
drugs will be a major force to contend with here.
We think the system participants
should take a second look at this very complex and very imminent problem.
10
See Mecklenburg County. North Carolina Technical Assistance on Jail Crowding
and Incarceration Alternatives. July - August 1988. NIC Jail Center TA 88-Jl257, p.
11.
18
The inclusion of a drug testing operation for arrestees could also have a
significant effect on jail over-crowding.
The decision to release or continue in custody
would be far easier to make if the judicial officer knew the extent of any drug
involvement of the arrestee.
This could further ease the pressure on the jail if the
jurisdiction would provide drug treatment alternatives to pretrial incarceration in the jail.
d.
The Initial Release Hearing
In 1982, we were concerned that the initial pretrial release hearing gave
the appearance that the magistrates had abdicated their exercise of judicial discretion to
the police.
It was our view that the pretrial release decision is a judicial function and
that the magistrate should appear to act as an independent, neutral and detached
decision-maker.
While it is true that the Intake Center has addressed this concern by
providing a little privacy, the basic problem remains:
there will be no adversarial
hearing at a stage of criminal justice processing when one should be afforded.
The
comments we made in 1982 are no less true today. 11
We recommend that the system of appointment and qualifications of
magistrates become an agenda item for the continuing work of the Citizens Criminal
Justice Commission.
It is unseemly that a functionary held in such low esteem be called
upon to make decisions that affect the liberty (or confinement with its attendant costs)
of the citizens of Mecklenburg County.
11
" • . Our model would include a formal hearing much like that which
presently occurs in 6la, and would be the logical conclusion to complete
implementation of the central intake concept. . . Even if every component of the
proposal as we have outlined it cannot be implemented, at least a more formal process
than currently exists would improve both the reality and perception of justice. At
present, three Magistrates operate simultaneously in close quarters.
The are dressed
in suits (sometimes); rolled-up sleeves (sometimes); ties (sometimes); and don't look
very much like judges.
Officers congregate in lines at adjacent counter areas to
plead their cases. The public, waiting in a dingy room, talks to Magistrates through
a bank-teller-like window and are often told, "Sounds like you have a complaint. Fill
out this form."
A formal setting, courtroom-like in structure, with attendant
security and dignity, constructed through renovation of the present facility, would be
a vast improvement ... " Report and Recommendations of The American University Study
Team on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Justice System. July 1982. pp. 45 - 46.
19
4.
Caseflow Management
The study team has focussed its assessment of caseflow matters upon the
organizational and policy issues addressed in the 1982 Report. We assume that the Court
will evaluate on its own the degree to which it has achieved the time and operational
objectives suggested.
a.
District Court
The District Court now has three trial tracks for misdemeanors and an
administrative court to handle its caseload which has increased 30% since 1982. Assuming
available prosecutors and other resources, it could expand to four or five courts to
prevent the growing misdemeanor filings, 30% higher in the last three years, from
becoming excessively concentrated in the three courtrooms.
were screened
by
the
misdemeanor caseload.
prosecutor and
diverted
Some 17,000 - 19,000 cases
or dismissed
from
the 1988 total
Screening reduced cases by about 1,500 cases per month.
That
still left 9,000 cases per month -- 108,000 cases a year -- for disposition out of the
126,000 filed in 1988. This rapid case increase may justify a fourth regular track.
Scheduling appears to be very effective in the District Court considering
the volume of cases involved, though the pace of case processing creates extreme
pressures on the District Court judges, particularly Courtroom 61.
A blind system of
judge rotation as exists in the Superior Court could a void the difficulties of judge
shopping by defense counsel in District Court.
Courtroom 61, however, has an extremely
heavy load and there is no doubt that it is an extraordinary imposition on the District
judge assigned there.
If the system averages 20 court days a month then 9,000 cases a
month must be determined at 450 a day, or 56 in an 8 hour day, or 1 case each 8
minutes, divided by 3 tracks it means about 19 cases an hour must be decided hour after
hour in these three courtrooms devoted exclusively to misdemeanor cases.
Coordination is very difficult and complex in these courtrooms as well
because so many people are involved. Furthermore, any action taken on the criminal side
will impact on the civil side and it must be studied carefully before changes are made.
We
resubmit the recommendation which we made in 1982 that the
magistrates be upgraded in training and position and begin to take on some functions
which would relieve the District judges' workload.
This recommendation also supports
our observations regarding the initial release hearing.
Solomon made a similar recommendation in her 1985 report.
20
We
note that Ms. Maureen
b.
Superior Court
The Superior Court maintains a fairly current criminal docket through the
six resident judges assigned, supplemented by 15 visiting judges and a 30% dismissal rate.
The six resident Superior Court judges are heavily loaded with resident judge work such
as arraignment pleas, court trials and other motion work in felony cases.
There were 15
non-resident Superior Court judges who also come into Mecklenburg County to sit in
criminal trials during 1988 -- some in a significant number of cases.
The fact that
Mecklenburg County must borrow large numbers of judges from the rest of the state to
keep current is symptomatic of the shortage of judicial resources afforded the County.
It should be noted that the 100% increase in felony cases during the past decade has
resulted in only 1 additional Superior Court judge.
During the course of our site work, we heard frequent comments that
judge time was not scheduled efficiently.
We have observed the Court's operations and
judicial scheduling in particular and do not note any problem in this regard.
We do,
however, recommend that the Court make additional efforts to improve its communication
with the public so that the public will understand what judges do and that a dark
courtroom does not signify a non-working judge.
5.
Information Systems
The major efforts toward integrated information for the justice system of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg area have been through the North Carolina Administrative Office
of the Courts' (AOC) statewide information support systems and the Mecklenburg County
Criminal
Justice
Information
System
(MCCJIS).
These
two
systems
provide
the
computerized support for the judicial system of the county but, do not communicate with
each other.
The AOC systems provide automated support to the Child Support Enforcement
program and indexing only for the Ci vii system at this time.
(It is possible that a full
civil case tracking system will not be available on the AOC system for several years.)
A decision has been made to transfer all work on infractions to the state computer from
the county system and it is our understanding that
the transfer has now
been
accomplished.
The developing MCCJIS system promises to provide an integrated criminal
justice information system which should, eventually, serve the needs of ill parts of the
city and county criminal justice system and provide necessary data to the AOC.
The
opening of the new Intake Center appears to herald the implementation of several parts
of the developing system. The first new segment scheduled to be operational, ref erred to
21
as the Central Repository, will provide a complete Wants and Warrants system for law
enforcement.
This part of the MCCJIS effort was demonstrated during the team's visit
and was reported to be fully programmed and into a "user familiarization" cycle.
The
next steps will incorporate on-line arrest processing and the magistrate subsystem,
followed by modification and integration of the criminal case tracking system.
It appears that present plans do not include early integration of the Jail
Information System into MCCJISS.
The key to a successful criminal justice information
system is the inclusion of all phases of the justice process into the system.
Failure to
fully integrate the Jail Information System into MCCJIS as soon as possible would be a
serious mistake.
We were surprised to find that the Criminal History file continues to be
maintained in microfiche form.
For true operational use by all parts of the criminal
justice system, there must be an automated on-line criminal history file.
The data is
available in tape form to feed the information to the county computer where disk space
for this critically important file would be relatively inexpensive if not now available. In
conjunction with the advance already made in positive identification, the additional effort
necessary to make summary criminal history information available on-line should be
minimal and must be seriously considered at the earliest moment. It is our understanding
that full case data has been saved on magnetic tape for a number of years which should
provide a significant starting file.
The number of terminals and terminal locations planned for in the MCCJIS
network, at present, is inadequate. The true value of the system cannot be realized until
broad access, including law enforcement access through mobile data terminals, is
achieved.
At the very least, terminal access should be provided to every police
department in the county.
We note that there is no full-time staff person responsible for monitoring
MCCJIS progress and for long and short range planning on behalf of
fill participants. We
strongly suggest the hiring of a full-time MCCJIS manager who would report to a
committee made up of the top justice system managers and would be independent of the
County data processing operation.
It is imperative that this committee's membership
include the top policy maker of each justice unit and a high level representative of each
funding unit.
Unfortunately, the MCCJIS Committee presently does not have broad
enough representation of the participating justice agencies nor does it have a full
complement of policy making managers.
At a minimum, the committee membership must
include: the Sheriff; the Clerk of Court; the District Attorney; the Public Defender; the
22
Chiefs of the larger Police Departments; the Chief Judge of the District Court; the
Senior Resident Judge of the Superior Court; the Trial Court Administrator; the Director
of the Pretrial Services Unit and appropriate representatives of the County Manager, the
City Manager, the County Data Processing Department and the Administrative Office of
the North Carolina Courts.
There is a need for full-time staff to support the information system effort as
well as the coordination of the criminal justice system of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
This
coordination duty must be performed by a unit independent from the individual actors yet
responsible to each of the justice agencies and to the funding bodies for representing
them fairly and equitably.
A small unit of, perhaps, two or three people could perform the task.
It
would take an accomplished administrator, an information system analyst and some
secretarial support.
Conceivably, an accomplished administrator with information system
expertise could do the job along with an administrative assistant.
The unit should be
under the direct supervision of the combined group of top level justice system and
funding body officials described in our recommendation for the composition of the
MCCJIS Committee.
In addition, it could serve as the liaison to the Citizens Criminal Justice
Commission by providing staff services to that group.
It should not, however, have any
daily operational responsibilities.
The demonstration for the team's visit revealed a well thought out and
programmed system. The ability to move freely through the parts of the system with the
use of function keys, as well as the "hot keying" which permits switching between the
State and County systems, indicates a professionally planned and programmed effort.
We recommend further consultation with the data entry user level personnel in
order to simplify the initial case data entry required by the system.
For example, new
case data entry seems to require the use of three screens, yet it appears that typical
case data could be accommodated on a single screen in many, if not most, cases.
Perhaps "express screens", specifically designed to accommodate the data in the sequence
it is found on incoming documents, could be provided to make the initial data entry less
labor intensive.
The phonetic search scheme utilized by the system will return the sought after
name along with a number of sound-alikes.
systems for searching by name.
Further research could provide improved
More importantly, we would suggest the inclusion of
more sophisticated searching systems for searches based on sex, race, age, height,
23
weight, etc. Several search algorithms are available which will return the possibles along
with a probability factor for each.
Another suggestion is that programming be undertaken to provide a formatted
printing of the Pretrial Services report data instead of the "screen dump" currently
contemplated.
Although the "screen dump" contains all the data shown on the screen, it
is very difficult to read and would be much more informative if presented in logical and
uncluttered format.
In
passing,
we
should
also
note
that
the
use of
CICS
and
DLl
for
communications and file organization is not "state-of-the-art" and would suggest that
planning begin very soon for conversion to a modern relational data base which provides
a Structured Query Language capability.
Positive identification is an integral part of the Intake Center operation
scheduled for implementation this summer.
We have been informed that an automated
fingerprint identification system (AFIS) is part of the proposed operation. We would also
suggest serious consideration of the latest AFIS system advances, like the "Contextual
Enhancement Processor" and "live finger scan imaging technology' described in the
materials attached as Appendix D.
It was reported to the study team that, in order to address the MCCJIS
improvements with the highest priority, it has only been possible to make the simplest
maintenance adjustments to the criminal case tracking system.
It is imperative that
additional programming support be provided in order to be able to address the important
modifications requested and required by today's users of the case tracking system.
The organization and operation of the Clerk's Office automation efforts has shown
significant improvement since our 1982 Report.
Mr. Blackburn and his staff, as well as
Mrs. Beeman, deserve recognition for their efforts.
unconscionable to jeopardize these hard
Most importantly, it would be
won advances
by not providing adequate
maintenance for the existing system.
MCCJIS can impact significantly on local police operations if and when good
information on "Wants and Warrants' and Criminal Histories becomes available over
Mobile Data Terminals in police cars and terminals in all police stations.
We also
strongly suggest early consideration of providing remote access, to the public of record
data in the MCCJIS files, to attorneys and other private sector data users who have a
right to view that data.
24
While much attention has been given to the development and enhancement of
the automated information system slated to be implemented almost concurrently with the
opening of the Intake Center, we are concerned about the creation of the initial
"case/person" informational data base.
underestimated.
We believe that the true initial costs have been
Further, we believe that once everyone begins to use the information in
ways not as yet even imagined, there will be a demand for use of the system that will
outdistance its capacity to respond.
The MCCJIS will be of significant benefit to many involved in the local
criminal justice process.
Consideration must also ultimately be given to the fair and just
division of costs to maintain a system that will be of inestimable value to City, County
and State officials.
6.
Criminal Justice System Relations with the Community
The broad community concern about the criminal justice system and crime,
particularly residential burglaries, which was evident in 1982 is no longer apparent.
There appears to be very little community concern with levels of crime, other than
drugs.
This lack of interest is particularly noteworthy because the original American
University study was generated by high levels of community concern with crime at a time
when criminal activity in Charlotte was much lower than it is today.
It should be noted that these perceived attitudes seem to reflect the data in
national polls, which indicate that less than five percent of Americans see crime as the
most important issue in their lives, although some two-thirds say that not enough is
spent on crime prevention.
There is, however, substantial concern about victim needs and, particularly,
spouse abuse.
In this regard, the victim assistance program has been very responsive to
community needs.
Despite the general lack of focus on crime activity, allusions were frequently
made to the apparent non-functioning of the judicial system -- e.g., the apparent
reappearance on the street of arrestees moments after arrest, the failure to vigorously
prosecute certain
practices.
particular
incidents, and
confusion over sentencing
policies and
While these concerns are common in most communities, they are symptomatic
of the need to constantly seek opportunities to increase communication between the
judicial system and the public.
The Trial Court Administrator has made an notable
beginning in this regard with the publication of the Mecklenburg County Criminal Justice
System pamphlet and the Justice System Newsletter, but additional mechanisms and
outreach efforts need to be established to encourage the opportunity for regular citizen
25
dialogue with criminal justice system officials.
This dialogue should yield increased
understanding of and confidence in the judicial process.
26
III. AGENDA FOR FURTHER ACTION
The study team believes that the Citizens Criminal Justice Commission has
proven its value as an effective policy guidance mechanism in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
criminal
justice
system.
It
also
is
apparent
to
the
outsider
that
the
special
characteristics of the broader community environment in which the CCJC exists have
been a major factor in its success:
a genuine sense of civic pride among all segments of
the community; a tradition of public service by business and citizen group leaders; an
infrastructure of competent City and County government administrative officials; and
elected officials who project a sense of accountability to the community.
The confluence of these community attributes and an effective mechanism for
promoting cohesion in what is, essentially, a fragmented criminal justice system may be
impossible to replicate at some future period in Charlotte-Mecklenburg's inexorable
growth and development.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that the Citizens
Criminal Justice Commission remain in existence beyond the point of realization of the
Judicial System Master Plan and focus on several still unresolved or nascent issues
affecting the performance of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system.
The
following five issue areas are suggested as an agenda for the Commission for the
immediate future (3 - 5 years) of its continued operation:
A.
Prosecutor and Judicial Resources
It is impossible for the criminal justice system to keep pace with (and manage
the system dysfunctions caused by) the present volume and rate of increase in its
caseload unless prosecutorial and judicial capacity is enhanced beyond the present level
available to Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The team has suggested several avenues to explore
in this regard, and there may be others.
Almost certainly, any improvement in this area
is going to require a very complex set of inter-branch and state-local policy and legal
decisions to realize, and it is likely that only a body of the stature and influence of the
CCJC can effectively bring them about.
B.
Anti-Drug Abuse Efforts
There is no reason to believe that Charlotte-Mecklenburg will be spared the
painful experience of having to acknowledge the existence of a serious drug abuse
problem in the community.
The challenge for the Commission in this regard is not only
to support enhancement of the ability of the criminal justice system to effectively deal
27
with such activity and category of offenders, but to attempt to influence the intake into
the criminal justice system of drug abusing offenders by supporting non-CJS efforts
designed to prompt public awareness of the problem and to increase prevention and
treatment resources available in the community.
C.
Information System Improvements
The body of this report describes several present and prospective problem
areas related to development of the MCCJIS and the relationship of MCCJJS to both state
Judicial Department and the general Mecklenburg County data processing activities. The
team's recommended courses of action have substantial control, financial and capability
implications, and the independent judgment and advice of the Commission can be
instrumental in resolving these in the best interests of all of the agencies concerned.
D.
Jail Capacity Management
Without constant attention to the integrity and quality of the criminal case
initiation process, the pretrial release determination process, and pretrial and postconviction alternatives to incarceration available to the judiciary, Mecklenburg County
will always have a
jail crowding problem and a need to continuously expand its
institutional physical plant. The Commission could play its most vital role in minimizing
the financial, public safety and public image problems caused by criminal justice system
dysfunction by devoting its energy and influence to this public policy area.
E.
Criminal Justice System Coordination
The County public information pamphlet on the Mecklenburg Criminal Justice
System describes it as "a loose coalition of 25 diverse and independent units, with no
actual authority responsible for supervision of the entire system."
It was in response to
this fragmentation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system that our 1982
report recommended the creation of a position of criminal justice system coordinator,
with system coordination (not supervisory) responsibilities.
That so much by way of
attainment of the adopted recommendations of the 1982 study was achieved in the
ensuing six years without this resource in place is remarkable.
Now, however, with the
huge undertaking of implementing the Judicial System Master Plan essentially complete
and significantly improved case processing procedures firmly in place in District Court, it
is time to tackle the less dramatic but equally important aspects of justice system
improvement:
the politically sensitive resource augmentation issue; the case scheduling
and processing issues related to the felony workload of the Superior Court; and the
information system development and process monitoring issues that require much more
28
detailed interagency and inter-branch coordination than the Commission has had to deal
with in the past.
This will require more criminal justice management expertise,
operational insight and analytical ability than can be expected to exist in a citizens
commission.
It's also going to require a greater willingness to make concessions for the
"greater good" among the heads of those 25 independent units that comprise the criminal
justice system than they have been called upon to make up to this point.
For these
reasons, the study team reaffirms its belief that an effective coordination mechanism is a
necessary
ingredient in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system improvement
scheme.
Effective coordination of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system, as
envisoned by the study team, requires three things:
(I)
Leadership -- to be exercised by the judicial branch leaders (Senior
Resident Superior Court Judge and Chief District Court Judge) by motivating and
sustaining regular and meaningful review of criminal justice system functioning by the
top officials in all CJS-related agencies and exerting their influence on the independent
agency heads in this consortium to make needed changes for the common good;
(2)
Independent Professional Analysis and Recommendations - to be provided
through a criminal justice coordinator responsible to the criminal justice system as a
whole, but not an employee of any one agency, and who has both the skills necessary to
analyse the interrelationships of judicial administration, law enforcement, corrections,
prosecution and information system issues on the functioning of the system and the
stature to effectively communicate recommendations for improvement to the heads of the
independent criminal justice agencies; and
(3)
Public Accountability -- to be fostered by the Citizens Criminal Justice
Commission through: monitoring criminal justice system operations and interrelationships;
endorsing to the key CJS actors recommendations of the criminal justice coordinator on
which it desires to take a position; bringing to the attention of the criminal justice
system leadership and to the criminal justice coordinator community concerns a bout
functioning of the criminal justice system; and exercising its considerable civic and
political influence at the state and local levels to bring about needed improvements in
the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice scheme.
The Citizens Criminal Justice Commission should have as a priority item on its
agenda the determination of the best means to achieve this multi-facetted coordination
capability for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg criminal justice system as soon as possible.
29
APPENDIX A:
Individuals Interviewed by the Study Team
The following individuals were interviewed during the course of the study:
Julie Beeman
Resident Systems Analyst for North Carolina
Administrative Office of the Courts
R. Max Blackburn
Clerk of Superior Court
Jerry Blackman
Mecklenburg County Commissioner
David Burkhalter
Citizens Criminal Justice Commission
Tom Cameron
Trial Court Administrator
Isabel S. Day
Public Def ender
Jerry Fox
Mecklenburg County Manager
Franklin Freeman
Administrative Director of the North Carolina
Courts
Peter Gilchrist
District Attorney
Sis Kaplan
Citizens Criminal Justice Commission
C. W. Kidd
Sheriff
Sam Killman
Chief of the Charlotte City Police
Hon. James E. Lanning
Chief District Court Judge
Herbert L. Mann
Pretrial Services Department Director
John Murphy
County Data Processing Manager for MCCJIS
Hon. Sue Myrick
Mayor of Charlotte
Rolfe Neill
Publisher of the Charlotte Observer and
Citizens Criminal Justice Commission member
Vic Orr
Chief of the Mecklenburg County Police
Kimberly Owens
Study Coordinator, Criminal Justice Coordinating
Commission Projects
Dr. Leon R iddick
Mount Carmel Baptist Church and
Criminal Justice Commission member
Citizens
Hon. Frank W. Snepp
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
Don Steger
Assistant City Manager
Fran Taillefer
Director of Data Processing,
Off ice of the Courts
John A. Tate
Chairman of
Commission
Ms. Jane Taylor
Victim Assistance Agency (Misdemeanor Branch)
Barry Wyatt
County Budget Office
John Wyatt
Independent Contractor for MCCJIS Development
the
Citizens
Administrative
Criminal
Justice
APPENDIX B
Mecklenburg County Population Trends
The estimates and actual population counts for Mecklenburg County and related
areas are:
1.
Total Population Current;
472,639 (County estimate, Jan. 1988)
478,505 (Employment and Housing projections, 1990 done in 1985)
466,335 (state Budget and Management, 10/88)
2.
Projected Total Population (Empl. and Hous. 1985)
1990 - 478,000
1995 - 513,000
2000 - 543,000
3. Growth Pattern by Decade of County Census (U.S. Census)
1850 19501960 1970 1980 4.
13,914
197 ,052
272,111
354,656
404,270
Settlement Pattern:(l980 Census)
87% urban
13% rural
5.
Metropolitan Market Area: (State B & M - October 1988)
Mecklenburg
Union
Gaston
(Former SMSA)
466,000
81,000
172.000
719,000
Rowan
Lincoln
Cabarrus
104,000
47,000
93.000
Planning Area and
York Co.,S. Car.)
963,000
APPENDIX C
Charlotte Arrest Data: 1981 - 1987
1. Arrests by Charlotte Police By Calendar Years
1981
1986
1987
Percent
Increase
1986-87
Homicide/manslghtr
Rape
Robbery
Aggrvtd ass a ult
Burglary
Larceny
Vehicle Theft
Non-agrvtd asslt
Arson
Forgeryu/cntrftng
Fraud/bd chcks
Embezzlement
Stolen Property
Vandalism
55
55
208
828
1,046
2,793
157
2,634
10
109
2,603
103
161
623
44
78
249
1,132
880
3,146
176
3,899
43
122
3,892
2,332
287
832
54
64
282
1,067
874
3,575
204
4,168
26
116
2,649
286
290
753
23
-18
13
-6
-1
14
16
·7
-40
-5
-32
23
1
-9
-2
16
36
29
-16
28
30
58
160
6
2
178
80
21
Weapons violns
Prstutn/vice
Sex Off renses
Drug Offenses
Gambling
Ofnses agst fmly
DWI
Liquor viola ti on
Dsordly cnduct
Other non-trf c
326
183
133
723
91
269
1,943
79
760
2,644
591
382
191
1,688
129
66
1,749
232
1,645
4,613
632
292
213
1,890
136
61
1,648
979
1,384
4,452
7
-24
12
12
5
-8
-6
-58
-16
-3
94
60
60
161
49
-15
23
82
68
18,536
26,298
-4
36
Category
Total
25,213
Percent
Increase
1981-87
-77
APPENDIX C
Charlotte Arrest Data: 1981 - 1987 (continued)
2. Arrests by Mecklenburg County Police By Calendar Years
Category
Homicide/mnslghtr
Rape
Robbery
Aggrvtd Assault
Burglary
Larceny
Vehicle theft
Non-Agrvtd asslt
Arson
Forgery /cntrftng
Fraud/bd chcks
Embezzlement
Stolen Property
Vandalism
Weapons violns
Prstutn/vice
Sex Offenses
Drug Offenses
Gambling
Offenses Agst Famly
DWI
Liquor Violation
Dsordly cnduct
Other non-trf c
Total
1986.
1987
10
9
24
104
112
140
16
259
2
10
9
22
64
Percent
Increase
1986 - 1987
15
110
0
12
616
25
67
193
267
0
0
-8
-38
-36
-23
-13
24
0
25
11
-37
7
9
42
-8
-40
71
0
42
-25
-20
15
38
2,120
2,110
0
16
223
27
29
55
43
13
72
108
14
332
2
20
248
17
31
60
61
12
9
188
0
17
460
20
77
APPENDIX D
Description of Live Finger Scan Technology
APPLICATIONS
APPENDIX D
Description of Live Fi nger Scan Technology
APPLICATIONS
New Fingerprint ID Enhancement
Crintefighters.Finger More Bad Guys
A powerful new image processor known as the Contextual Enhancement Processor (CEP) is adding greater accuracy. to
Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
A-"FSS')
C
4'flGi!!a11T41
i-- ·. : .'.'.\'~· .
l works. Trusl me. ll woru.·
Suf'(rintendenl Bruc:c King
o( lhe Fingerprinl lden1if1C1·
tion Division o( Carwb's
Royol Mounlcd Police: wu talking about
AFIS (Au1onutcd Fingerprint ldcntif.ca·
tion Sys1em). The lcchnology, he said, wu
responsible (or more than 900 aiminal
iden1if1C11ions last ycv.
.
King said 1he~ technology provides
a •tremendous preve!'Utive instrument in
addition to being a dclc:c:tion instrumcnL•
He said it will (rcqucn1ly enable aulhoritics
to quidcly identify a latent print kft at the
scene of a crime and arrest the suspc:c:t
before he can commil a no1her crime.
One of the bigges1 names in the fingerprint ma1ching technology - wi1h some
60 insullations from Canada lo SL Croix
- is De La Rue Prinlrak Inc. of Anaheim,
Calif.. which builds its systems around
computers from Oigiu.l Equipment Corpomion. Depending on speed require·
menLS and the daubasc s'2.c.. Printralc's
se.11ch/nutch and image storage pr<>CCS50n
an !>-: configured with one or more of
Oigiurs VAX computcn.
The Printrak/Oigiul systems SCNc 75
jurisdictions. induding 18 stales. The
Mounties use a SS million Prinlrak/Digi·
ul sys1em wi1h a daubase of 2.2 million
' 'I
:··
~
t';~~~-~-:-.
.
i..~rn•Nr.,..=:--
~
This thinned image
forms lhc basis or the
automated das:sifoalion
proccs and cxlraetion
of minute details. Very
poor quality arcas of
the print image arc
blocl:ed out by the
image processor during
the minutiiccxtraaion.
The automated quali1y measure reOCClS
the overall quality of the image. on a four.
level sale.
The final resuh is a high quali1y finger·
p<inl database. with minu1iac recorded
only in usable areas of each print. a silua·
lion which results in shOrter candidale lists
and highct score separations. A less obvious
print~.
bcnelil is the increased matching spc<:d
The Florida Department of Law En· since lhe new processor produces far fewer
forcemenl is insulting a S2 I. 7 million sys- false minutiae then previous systems. 1hu.s
1em ond the Vcnezucl3n Ministry of Inlet· reducing lhe average time per match.
nal Affairs has contraaed for a system
In New Orleans. a one-man airnc wave
valued •t S2J.9 million.
came to an end when l"'"O fingerprints were
To u<c •n /\FISsyslem. a police workct
lifted off the back window o( a car in
in~ns •copy o( a fingcrprin1 obtained al a
which a young woman was shol and lilkd
crime 'l.Ccnc inlo ~scanner. The computer
and her boyfricn<J was scrio...-ly in111rcJ
coinp.H-..~ the print wi1h those stnrcd in iu
Onc o( the prints. which W >\ ,.;.'rreJ.
memory Jnd pcovtdcs investigators with
1hc 10 clu~t m11chcs.
.. ····...
tu :.dJ11mn J powfcfu! 1h;w im:.gc P'''"
AFIS conl"'ued from p.19~· I
C.:\.":\"'" L.11uwn :as the Conlcxtu:tl EuhJ.rn.:c·
~t t I~''"'"· or CEP. i, l':t" u( :1 new
J'fmttal \)"'h.:1t1 tl1;H improv.._"S p<Jit.lf (.fU:.l1ty p1i1u fik. pull ou1 th\." \U'.\('.:l.I\ c.;.1,J :,w J
frn1~.:rp1111h. Tio; new system. c:all(J CUnlfl.11(' ,, lo tl•c (ftfll( \(,;CUC 1ui11t.
Or<ION. 011 worL:. in a fta:l."tiun of a
If th('f(' .- h.: mt)U'\J)l.:'-'b, 1111.:cHtly ahct114 .
M:CtrnJ "''11hou1 a her ins the uni4u.: ch:UJC.: ·
t iv\·" .. ··..:.. ,tJ :i.c:;,a11.:h.- SI> n .. m c..11-.:ctu-.c
h:'""~ of the rein I through :i ><•t•hi~ttah."\J chc1c :.re nn urhc1 duC\, ooly 1l1c f.u1:c1 ·
1c~l1111~uc cli;,t cmub1cs the hun••o u1tcr ..
(Hittl' 111 J ··("olJ '>l:.au.:h.- c.u:h r.u1:cqui111
f'h.:Utum au,~-,...,.
c:aut m the.· fik mu'\I lh.: pulk"\J :.oc.J the
f loc C(I' lllAlCS thrcc ("4>S<:S through Cumc "-°Cn..: ('Uin1 O t 1111•... t('J lu C"d1 u( th<"
1f1c uu.ai;c. C.l.Ch time c1.1cnd1ng the gooJ t'ini;cr\ Ctvcn 1!.c \i1c uf the f;11~cqu 1ut
f'3'1\ t•f the im.1i:,.: into rq:i~u·~ of luwct fil<,.~ th .. c C&l\I 111J.1y. \;.u1'_J \c.:4td1~ tfdy
•1u.1l1l)'. au~rc:"iu~ th<: COt\lf.iL\.t :1rH_J cluni· ivcc:c\\ l 'hc Flil. foe C:l.1111pk , l1.J' .. ,.'-' ' 2 l
n.111111: h1c.1i '· )11t11<lt;o amJ otllct ~111(••u.·u m;llmn liu1:c1J"l•;11r 01J,, the: \1 .. 1c: uf ('.al ••
.....·l•1d1 ""'uul,t utltt;tw;•;c f(.~uh ;n 111;\.~tl ut (utui .. h.u 7.S n11lli•m 1..::u1h
Lil"C 111 i1u11 tkl..t~h. The ph~\· i11c..:lutlo
l',vcn \111..tlkt tile , ~ ,.-<: vutu ..lly t11\ut .
r4d1:\' d111;ct11m c'.\t11m11;011. ~li1c~11no c11 · muu11t ..11lc; ,wJJ,. T~kc tht; c...i·.c: o( ll11· tw.1
h.1111 ·.;111,·111 .u11l1111..;o,i1r cnl1J1u.:c111cot .... 11 l.al\,"tlt 1u1111 (tho·...: (-.u11d •l \.fllllC.: "'-'Cth'')
ul \,lt,· l11d1 "' 'C111u:t lly p•oduu; :. hio.uy tun :.1;.1;11,1 S..10 Fr<i1tt<.:1·4_,, l'uli1 .t: ll1;p .u1.
1!111111 •., J •• pn"~11Lttuu1 c.r tl1"' ori1:111 .1I fHmt
mc111\ 1\I t\ d.11.J h..1·.c -.[ °\C 1 J.tJO~J 1111;:~ 1 ·
----- -------
I. . -· ..
~red•
-hit- when run lhrou&h the local
rolice dqunment's A FIS and rirovided a
lcn1a1ivc identification o( lhe SU.S(lCCt.
Two d•ys a(1er lhe tirsl incident. a
simil~r crime took place wi1h the same
modus operandi No prinLS were found al
lhis scene. Oul a photo of the suspect identi·
tied from the tingcrprinl left at 1he first
crime scene wu positively iden1iticd by
one of the viairns o( the second a1uck.
Police had the sus:
peel in custody within
24 hours. Subsequent
forensic analysis of a
gun seir.cd from the
suspect linked him lo
two other murders and
i lhrcc·month Crime
thal indudcd
Police. A short lime a(1er lhe Lu Vegas
/I.FIS was insulled. il was used 10 idenli(y
a suspect in a l 0-year-<ild homicide cue.
And, in an unrcl•tcd case, i1 also idcn1iticd
a casino work pcrmi1 applic.an1 u an
individual who c.5C.1pcd from a Mis.souri
pri.s on • decade earlier.
The increasing use o( high lcch fingerprint iden1itication sys1cms is also giving
rise 10 the creation of regional public safe1y
nelworlu lhat slore and share c.ompuler·
based fingerprin1 cards among di!Tcsenl
jurisdictions..
For ex<1mplc. bolh 1he Colorado Bureau
of Investigation and the Tenncs:sa: Bureau
o( Investigation volunlocrcd .10 serve u
cc:niral regional hubs for networks lhal
would link l<igether lheir systems and sys·
terns in neighboring Stales. An existing
nelwork linlu Washington D.C. public
safely agencies with c.ommunities in neigh·
boring Virginia and Maryknd, and ano<hcr
nc1work links the southern area o( Florida
with selected siles in the Caribbean. •
armed robbery. rape and
a11ernp1cd rape, and a total
of seven murders.
-ooUar for dollar. I 1hink
thi< is 1he b.!<I mon.:y I have
ever seen srcn• in my
c;;ucn.-S3idCapc. l'•ul K•y
<•f the l..u Vq:,•.< Metro
----·-·--·-· ..... -- ··-----·-·---·--·-·---·· ·p11111 01<.h. Thac p1i111 l1:ul l'IC..:o lh«.: suhjc(..1
,,( l•tc.:ull~· thou," 3mb u( hour~ .uf mAnu.al
. Te.rn1 • U • od lu ·:..;'.:~
nuverprlnl l<.lonllll c .. tlon
0
-----·I
\V:.altc.:r llt1c.:. h l...:lont;'-·J ttJ cit..: l1 lkr ,,(
Miri;uu Sl:amovich. 1 \VorlJ V..' .It II \.'Un•
(Clltfalioct Qcmp \UfYiY\lt ""''liq \4" 4) \~1Ul
poull hl:.u\:. tu the f.,.a hy :.o 111t1uJ.;r 111 h\.'I
home in 1'J7K.
• •,
tli1 -
\l.'l'<n a la1cn1 iwtnc ;, ,..,,u,_...hcJ lo
1Nu1t vn file auJ the \t.nfO•.J ticknttft01.
l..-c<ul 1•rio1 ..:...: A r.n,c1rcin1 (U\lrif.J • C1hc
uf a ,crime.. : '
· · •.... • "' lf ~ : • •
Minull...< .•-;-, .J'olnu uf • ·.pc•'W.Jlfl'\ 1·•11111
KCf"C
.... here 1~c:s stop o< spl•l in twu • :: i , :.· ••
f\1oJu, 01'<'t • 11di - MctJ~ ol OJ"°''11vn. 1
J,·11·pri11t <••d - A ftn;;op1in1 iJcmif.\ • ·
,,,,,, c.·4 1J "'';th•.ai ll lcn f.11,:~n i111p1;nt.aJ •;n ;c_ •
I fee ;l\.\..ul.uu kh • full. l'-: dt:\.l 1w•nt .U
lh(' \CCUC. hul with fUJ \lil("-'' t ,,.,J ,,., ulflCt
du(."'\. lhCtC W4) l1t1lc clt.1n\'.'c ur '""''"~ l
ul.tlC:h ou cai\tiu,; rile pttnt·. hr C•Hl\(n·
hoo:af
fll.JUU ... 1
!aoe.JU,,h1111:
fU ( lfu
~"
t )\.'to.··
,;v""~ f\.tu-.c~ •ucl ltti..: uc.:vcr f:.iYC' up 111 :!•\'
c ..'-C. c:u111iourn;: th•:;, , ·u lJ "4.'.11 ~ 11101: u~ :II\.'
f~I.-~ \Vhc.:n S.10 F1.t•H:1·..c:o\ /d ,. IS \~'o1!1:1
w.1\ trnpkmcnh:,_
1111 19X.J, 11 111,,1d1'-."J !:.c
t11411t in ,jA. 111;uoh"'".., :4n•I S l.,11111v1t,' h\ ~ 1'. : 1
\,lt,' J\ t.1l. cn rn11) c.;u,ll ~h'.
\.1.:.u dun.- u vct ;m c•s:ht·)C;u
1•.:•••111.I
"'"' '"'..: ·.. ..:uc 1n",·.:.tt,:.1tut\ Kcu ~.t.,.,,.~
It~
,t1111
Al ..u .
lJ~. t."
tl.c t.J·•.; nf d1-; •.cw-.1 : ..."": ..:!
·.
....·~
..:-:
--
!
I
I
I
I
~
~t-t\
<"'·
!~;f:::
I
i
l
I
I
\.
.
~
·~~---s ..
:.~
- - - - - VER/DEX
--------------- - - - -
-·- --,~
Veridex actually reduces the
t raining required to obtain
legible ridge d etail. The operator can review on a large CRT
screen each print before accepting it, and the highest
quality prints can be consistently
captured in only 4.5 seconds per
finger.
PROVEN IN THE FIELD:
Installed in 1987 at the Santo
Barbaro, CA County Sheriff's
Deportment, Fingermotix
equipment transmits live ,
latent or inked fingerprints to
Sacramento's central AFIS
facility. The Son Fran c isco,
CA Police Oeportme n I will
also be fingerprinting wi/11
Veridex equipment.
BACKGROUND:
Fingennatrix is introducing · a· significantly impro~ed l~ve finger scan imaging technology: implemented· in three new Veridex® fingerprint machines, the .miniaturized
MINTTM 11 data access machine, the miniaturized MINT 21 physical access machine,
and the unique Fingermatrix Latent Satellite®.
The first Veridex type machine is the performance enhanced Z1050A *, which is
externally identical in appearance to the Zl050 (see attached product sheet). The
second Veridex type machine is the Z 1050R *, which incorporates the extra performance of the Z1050A together with a single port universal roll that captures extended
"nail to nail" and "tip to crease" imagery independent of finger diameter, for both
search mode and file generation.
The third Veridex type machine, the miniaturized ZIOORP*, features combined universal roll prints and plain impression prints derived from a single scanner.
This
design enables an economically priced unit while utilizing the more traditional
finger rolling technique.
The new features implemented in hardware and firmware m all three models are:
1. 600 dots per inch fin~erprii:it _c ard· hardCOJ?Y which ·is precisely matched to the
600 dots per ·inch ..·electro~optical image· resolution of the internal ;scanner . .
2. Soft Touch™ processing with high scanner sensitivity for single scan high quality
imagery and easy discrimination between subject i;:idges/valleys in severely
degrad.e d live ridge structures.
3. 2.5 second scan time.
4. Automatic editing of fingerprint areas· of low quality ridge structure.
5. "Tip to Crease" ·and "Nail . to Nail" fingerprint roll image aperture ..
6. New state of the art image processing.
Equipment Presentation:
1. All machines will directly, in sequence, output to the 600 dots per inch primer
and print imagery on the fingerprint cards. This capability extends to both MINT
machines.
2. All fingerprint images from the various machines will be · transferred to and be
viewed, in sequence, on a large screen grey display with full 600 dots per inch
capacity.
* Patents pendin g.

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