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, we are working on a solution to be able to share specifics on diversion.
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.
Our goal is to resolve cases in a timely manner. Throughout the pandemic, necessary limitations on jury trials, in-person proceedings, court closures, modified arrest standards, and changes in law enforcement staffing all contributed to a slower rate of case resolution.
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.
Charging crimes is based on statutory definitions, quantity of evidence and quality of evidence.
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, restitution, willingness of a defendant to take accountability and participate in rehabilitation, and the timeliness of securing a plea versus going to trial.
Our office will continue to monitor our charging decisions and plea agreement practices, but encourage prosecutors to use discretion and professional judgment when considering a reduction of charges. Every case is assessed on its merits and there are no cookie-cutter resolutions.
The time it takes to resolve a felony case is influenced by factors not always within the control of the prosecutors. These factors may include the complexity of the case, whether additional investigation is necessary, status of forensic testing, appointment or availability of defense counsel, time needed for defense investigation, changes of staff involved in the case, litigation of pretrial motions, the number of continuances requested, availability of parties and witnesses, and the court’s schedule.
The time it takes to resolve cases noticeably increased after the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, the time to resolution has not returned to pre-COVID time frames. The courts utilized virtual hearings extensively during COVID-19. However, the Mesa County Courts are increasingly persistent in seeking in-person court hearings.
Our office is focused on reducing the time to resolution in criminal cases and has already started exploring implementing additional measures to monitor the length of a case. It is our office’s intent to seek the input of victims as early as possible, effectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of cases, and communicate with the defense counsel regarding an appropriate resolution early in the case.
In general, we would like to decrease the number of hearings to avoid prolonging case resolution. Our office seeks to ensure that hearings are meaningful and productive to move the case forward for victims and defendants.
- 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).