Presentation on theme: "Best Practices for Compliance Hearings in D.V. Cases ≈ Pilot Project Overview ≈ Santa Rosa County, Florida Hillsborough County, Florida Orange County,"— Presentation transcript:
Best Practices for Compliance Hearings in D.V. Cases ≈ Pilot Project Overview ≈ Santa Rosa County, Florida Hillsborough County, Florida Orange County, Florida
≈ Pilot Project Concept ≈ Using Santa Rosa County (1 st Judicial Circuit) and other districts around the country as models, create a system to effectively and efficiently increase batterer compliance with Batterer Intervention Programs in Domestic Violence cases.
≈ Supporting Data ≈ Santa Rosa County currently monitors 532 respondents, and 271 previous respondents have successfully completed the program. Santa Rosa County has reported a 77 % successful completion rate, the highest completion rate in Florida.
≈ Entry into the Project ≈ The process begins when a petition for an injunction is filed with the court. The court should examine the petition, and determine whether the respondent is currently on probation. If so, the court should contact the respondent’s Probation Officer (“PO”) and alert him/her to the alleged problem. The PO may be invited to attend the hearing to observe the proceedings.
≈After the Final Judgment≈ The next stage is when a final judgment is issued in a civil Domestic Violence case. The judgment includes an order to complete BIP/SA/MH counseling. The respondent is ordered to enroll within ten (10) days and submit notification to the court within thirty (30) days. A “tickler” is set for 15 days from date of the judgment or, if the respondent did not appear, the date the respondent was served with the judgment. The tickler reminds the court at a given interval to review the case for compliance.
≈ 15 Days ≈ When the tickler is triggered (at 15 days) court staff review the file for notification of compliance. If there is notification of compliance, no further action is taken. If there is no notification of compliance, a 15-day letter is sent to remind the respondent of the order, and the tickler is set to 30 days after the date of the final judgment. 15-day letter form.doc 15-day letter for BIP/SA/MH.doc
≈ 15 Days (cont.) ≈ If the respondent is on probation and there is no notification of compliance, the court may contact the PO and inform him/her of the respondent’s inaction, and discuss possible effects of continued inaction.
≈ 31 Days ≈ On the 31st day, court staff will again check for compliance. If there is a notification of compliance, no further action is taken. If there is no notification of compliance after 31 days, an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) hearing is set for the next division date (no sooner than 30 days). Order Setting OTSC hearing.docOrder Setting OTSC hearing.doc
≈ 31 Days (cont.) ≈ If the respondent is on probation and there is no notification of compliance, the court may contact the PO and inform him/her of the respondent’s continued inaction. The court may invite the PO to submit any information about the respondent’s conduct that may be relevant to the proceedings. If the PO agrees to submit information, the information should be received by the court before the start of the Order to Show Cause hearing. The PO may also be invited to attend the Order to Show Cause hearing and may submit information in person.
≈ The OTSC Process ≈ The hearing operates as an arraignment hearing on the charge of Indirect Criminal Contempt (Fla. Rule of Crim. Procedure 3.840). This hearing will not be dismissed, even if there is subsequent compliance, because compliance did not happen within the mandated time frame. Each hearing takes approximately 5 minutes. If the respondent is on probation and the PO is present or has provided information to the court prior to the hearing, the court may discuss such information with the respondent. At the hearing, the respondent enters a plea.
≈ OTSC – Not Guilty ≈ If proof of compliance can be offered, a plea of not guilty will be entered. Then a subsequent OTSC hearing will be set for 45-60 days to continue to monitor compliance. Order Setting OTSC hearing with compliance.doc If the respondent is on probation, inform the PO of the scheduled hearings and invite him/her to submit any information about the respondent’s conduct that may be relevant to the proceedings. If the PO agrees to submit information, the information should be received by the court before the start of the subsequent hearings. The PO may also be invited to attend the subsequent hearings and may submit information in person.
≈ OTSC – Not Guilty (cont.) ≈ If at the subsequent OTSC hearing the respondent is still in compliance, another hearing will be scheduled after the expected completion date, with the following clause in the order: “The respondent will not have to attend if he filed proof of completion prior to the hearing.”
≈ OTSC – Guilty ≈ If a plea of guilty is entered, the respondent will be given a suspended sentence, if he agrees to the condition that he enroll in counseling immediately. The court may then order Compliance hearings every 45 – 60 days to monitor compliance. If the respondent is on probation, inform the PO of the scheduled hearings and invite him/her to submit any information about the respondent’s conduct that may be relevant to the proceedings. If the PO agrees to submit information, the information should be received by the court before the start of the subsequent hearings. The PO may also be invited to attend the subsequent hearings and may submit information in person.
≈ OTSC – FTA ≈ If the respondent fails to appear (FTA), an Order of Arrest and Commitment – Warrant – will be entered against him for that failure. The first FTA brings the respondent before the court within 24 hours or one business day; subsequent FTAs commit the respondent to jail until the next division date (with a First Appearance after arrest).
≈ OTSC Hearing Follow-up ≈ If, following a suspended sentence, the respondent fails to enroll in counseling, or is terminated without completing the course, the respondent must serve the suspended sentence (with a First Appearance after arrest). The order to complete BIP/SA/MH counseling remains in place; thus after serving the sentence the respondent must still complete counseling. The respondent has 45 days to enroll in counseling and 60 days to file proof of enrollment. If there is a failure to comply by 60 days, the court will issue another OTSC.
≈ Other ≈ Each division has an enforcement docket monthly. The Assistant State Attorneys and Public Defenders attend. Sentences are usually between ninety (90) and one hundred eighty (180) days; sentences do not exceed 180 days to avoid the possibility of a jury trial.
≈Final Points ≈ This approach allows tracking programs to efficiently collect data about the system’s processes, ensuring oversight and an accurate reflection of the needs of the program. Santa Rosa County has demonstrated the viability of a small scale program, and has laid the groundwork for expanding the program and encouraging batterers to get the help that they need.
This project was supported by contract No. LN964 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.