This section presents data on all cases prosecuted by the District Attorney's (DA) Office that have reached a final resolution (a case disposition). Cases can be resolved in a variety of ways, including by dismissal, diversion, deferred judgment, guilty plea, or by acquittal or guilty verdict at trial. Successful diversion completions will be categorized as dismissals, for more information on diversion please see the Diversion and Deferrals section.
Why is this important? It is important to review how cases are resolved to ensure we are addressing serious crime effectively while minimizing unnecessary punitiveness.
Case resolution data shows the amount of cases that our office resolves in a particular calendar year. During the pandemic, limitations were placed on jury trials and in-person proceedings. Hundreds of cases were continued without resolution while the courts adapted to the ever-changing situation with COVID-19. As a result of these adaptations, the amount of cases being resolved dropped significantly and caused a backlog in the justice system. We continue to work on efficiently resolving cases in the hope that we will return to pre-pandemic levels with respect to case resolutions. Nonetheless, efficiency of case resolution will never be a more important consideration than doing what is in the best interest of justice and community safety.
At various times in 2020, the court did not hold jury trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time the DA's office reviewed hundreds of traffic cases and, when appropriate, dismissed minor offenses that did not implicate community safety.
Below are a set of indicators that provide additional context about case resolutions. These indicators help the DA's Office ensure they are achieving outcomes efficiently, effectively, and fairly.
Our prosecutors work diligently to determine the appropriate outcome in each case by considering the strength of the evidence, the impact to the victim, the defendant's criminal history, mitigating circumstances, and the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. We anticipate that this indicator will continue to remain consistent, however, due to recent legislative changes that reclassified charges in 2020 and 2021, many low-level felonies were reduced to misdemeanors. We will continue to monitor how these legislative changes impact our work.
Race and ethnicity data is not based on a consistent method of voluntary self-identification. While we work on strategies to improve data collection, we believe it is important to engage in discussions around issues such as the ones highlighted in this metric. Our office is committed to a deeper study of these issues to better understand the root cause of disparity in the criminal justice system.
Click Here for more information about race and ethnicity data collection and limitations.
There are a variety of reasons that impact the length of time for case resolution. The courts, defense attorneys, and prosecutors all have an impact in causing delays in the resolution of cases. While our office is working to reduce unnecessary delays in resolving cases, delays such as a defendant needing additional time to hire an attorney or apply for court-appointed counsel or the defendant missing a court date are causes that are simply out of our office’s control. We will continue to work with stakeholders to reduce the number of delays. While efficiency in case resolution is an important data point, our primary goal is to do the right thing to ensure justice is done on each case.
During the pandemic, limitations were placed on jury trials and in-person proceedings. Hundreds of cases were continued without resolution while the courts adapted to the ever-changing situation with COVID-19.
While we are encouraged that this metric shows progress and a reduction in the first quarter of 2023 reaching pre-pandemic levels. We will continue to work on identifying cases where dismissal is appropriate to bring the average back into alignment with our office's expectations.
- Underlying data counts for each chart can be accessed through this link.
- Each case is reflected by its top disposition. For example, if a charge on a case is dismissed as a part of plea negotiations and another charge on the case is plead guilty, the case will be reflected here as a “plead guilty.”
- The charge level represents the most serious charge filed in a case.
- Warrants are excluded (for all cases identified as a warrant).