MADD’s Court Monitoring Program enlists court monitors to observe and document what happens in the courtroom during impaired driving case proceedings. The program was created to ensure that impaired driving offenders are prosecuted and justice is achieved. Court monitoring is a tool proven to affect the adjudication process and is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as an effective countermeasure to reduce impaired driving (1). Court monitors on the local scale can impact the handling of impaired driving cases by their mere presence in the court room.
Court monitoring is intended to enhance transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system and reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses. One way this goal is achieved is by sharing data and observations with law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and the public to promote awareness of impaired driving and ensure accountability for all impaired driving offenders. To reduce future offenses, MADD® supports swift and unbiased treatment of all impaired driving cases. Court monitors track misdemeanor and felony (2 or more guilty DWI convictions) impaired driving cases in the judicial courts of their respective counties. Court monitors are often physically present for court settings and acquire case information from courtroom observation and, when necessary, from researching online databases. The data is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes. The information presented in this report is from cases monitored in 2021.
The Missouri Court Monitoring Program monitored cases in the following 9 counties: Cass, Clay, Franklin, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Platte, Saint Charles, and Saint Louis.
Missouri State Report (reporting period: 1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021)
Case Disposition DUI
Where disposition is known.
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the counties monitored and is not intended to be a statistical analysis. Court monitors observe various hearings as they proceed through the criminal justice system and collect pertinent data. Data is verified with court clerks; most often with the State of Missouri’s online court system, Case.net (https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome. do). This report focuses on the cases closed during the 2021 year. This report does not include offenders who have entered DWI/Alternative Court Treatment Programs.
Pending Cases Monitored* | 3946| 68% Adjudicated Cases Monitored | 1841 | 32% Total Cases Monitored in 2021 | 5787 *pending cases are cases waiting for a judgement
*Deferred Prosecution includes a version of informal probation; and upon certain completion of terms, the charge may be expunged from the defendant’s record. **An amended disposition means the charge was either amended to a lesser charge (such as Reckless Driving) or amended to a higher charge (less common)
Dispositions By County Where disposition is known by county.
Dismissed Deferred Prosecution
Clay Franklin Greene Jackson Jefferson Platte St. Charles St. Louis
We have seen a fluctuation of total dispositions in adjudicated cases over several years. 2019 had the highest Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS) cases with a 54% rate, 2020 saw a decrease to 47%, and 2021 saw a rise with 51%. In 2021, we saw a reduction in guilty dispositions, with 36% of cases adjudicated having a guilty disposition. This is down 3% from 2020. In 2020, dismissals accounted for 3% of the adjudicated cases, and in 2021, dismissals accounted for 4%. In 2021, 7% of cases were amended to a lesser charge. The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented back log of criminal cases, which may have led to local courts offering SIS and dismissals at a higher rate to expedite the process and reduce the back log. Additionally, feedback received from law enforcement and court personnel regarding the impact of COVID-19 on conviction rates is extremely negative. Additional negative feedback received regarding WebEx court hearings supported the frustration prosecutors and judges displayed when court monitors observed virtual hearings. MADD Missouri will host a round table with court personnel and law enforcement in 2022 to discuss conviction rates and observations the court monitoring program documents.
Felony Cases 28%
Type Of Criminal Offense
Where type of offense is known.
The majority of the cases monitored, as noted by the criminal charge graph, were DWI misdemeanor offenses (72%). To be charged with a felony DWI in the State of Missouri, a person must have two previous guilty convictions for DWI.
Misdemeanor Cases 72%
Number Of DWI Convictions
Where number of convictions is known.
The majority of the DWI cases tracked are of first-time offenders (62%). Typically, first time offenders receive a SIS, which accounts for many of the total dispositions in most counties monitored (noted under deferred prosecution). Even though defendants plead guilty with a SIS, if upon successful completion of their probation, the charge will not stay on their permanent criminal record, therefore, MADD does not recognize these as true convictions.
Age Of Offender
Where age is known.
Under 20 21-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80-89 90-99
Similar to 2020 data, the most common offender age range was 30-39 (31%), followed closely by 29% of offenders aged 21-29.
Key Findings & Observations
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime, yet continues to happen across the United States. Each year, about 1 million individuals are arrested. What happens after those arrests depends on the criminal justice system. As a MADD court monitor, you can get the insider’s perspective on the judicial system, while making a vital contribution to your local community. Your presence in court and the data you collect will help make sure our laws are upheld and the criminal justice system does what it is intended to do: Keep us safe Based on the case information collected and tracked by MADD court monitors in 2021, the following overall observations were pr sented: Conversations with prosecutors have illustrated that many of the DWI cases amended from their original charge were for any of the following reasons: first time offense, no prior criminal history and/or no additional criminal violations while case was pending, successfully following, and abiding the bond conditions, length of time between current charge and last conviction, and employment/school status. Many counties require offenders to complete special conditions as part of their sentence. In 2021, one observation documented was the consistent order for SATOP (Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program) and Victim Impact Panel classes for first time and prior offenders. Overall, a combination of community service, victim impact panel, SATOP, and two years of probation were issued for first time and prior offenders. For instance, 18% of the 5,547 sanctions issued for the 1,841 cases adjudicated were supervised or unsupervised probation for two years. 12% of the sanctions were Victim Impact Panel, and 13% were SATOP. Lastly, 5% of the sanctions issued were for ignition interlock devices. In the first half of 2021, it was uncommon for first time offenders to receive an ignition interlock as a sanction. As local court rooms began to re-open and court monitors were able to complete in-person monitoring, MADD Missouri court monitors noticed an increase in ignition interlock devices being ordered for first time offenders. Missouri has a first-time offender ignition interlock law; however, it is administrative, meaning the program is managed by Departments of Motor Vehicles, rather than by the local court system. MADD Missouri has had productive conversations with prosecutors in the monitored counties and are hopeful they will continue to see an increase in ignition interlock devices being ordered for first time offenders.
Maintaining a presence in the courtrooms through observation and building relationships with prosecutors and judges, allowed continued and ongoing productive discussions between citizens and the judiciary.
Requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted offenders Requiring all offenders to attend a Victim Impact Panel Allowing state funding for sobriety check points Increase training and funding for law enforcement officers on proper handling of drug impaired driving related arrests Adding an ignition interlock device requirement for eligibility to obtain a Hardship License to drive to work if it is revoked/suspended for refusing the breath test MADD MISSOURI CONTINUES TO CALL FOR CHANGE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY DRUNK OR DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING, MADD IS HERE TO HELP. CALL OUR VICTIM/SURVIVOR 24-HOUR HELPLINE AT 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435). (1) Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018, April). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth edition (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime, yet continues to happen across the United States. Each year, about 1 million individuals are arrested. What happens after those arrests depends on the criminal justice system. As a MADD court monitor, you can get the insider’s perspective on the judicial system while making a vital contribution to your local community. Your presence in court and the data you collect will help make sure our laws are upheld and the criminal justice system does what it is intended to do: Keep us safe. Court monitors achieve the work of MADD’s Court Monitoring Program by doing the following: Remind law enforcement that MADD wants to see their cases prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Identify trends in offender age, gender, and blood alcohol concentration level
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Promote public awareness and understanding of the dangers of impaired driving
For more information about court monitoring efforts in your state, please visit madd.org/courts to learn more about the program and the availability to volunteer.
For more information about volunteering in MIssouri, please visit madd.org/Missouri.
Missouri State Office 500 Northwest Plaza Suite 705 St. Louis, MO 63074 firstname.lastname@example.orgPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
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