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. 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 Offic- es, Ninth edition (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Court monitors, both staff and volunteer, monitor both misdemeanor and felony DWI cases in the associate and circuit courts in various counties throughout the state of Missouri, with the bulk of the counties encompassing the St. Louis and Kansas City Regions. Court monitors are physically present in court and observe various hearings as they proceed through the criminal justice system, collecting pertinent data. Data is verified with court clerks and most often with Missouri’s online court system, Casenet (https://www.courts.mo.gov/ casenet/base/welcome. do). The data collected is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes. This report focuses on the cases closed from January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020. It does not include those offenders who have entered DWI/Alternative Court Treatment Programs.
Missouri State Report (reporting period: 1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020)
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the ten counties monitored and is not intended to be a statistical analysis.
39% 1% 46%
412 4 482
Not Guilty Deferred Prosecution* Dismissed Amended to Misdemeanor** Amended** Nolle Prosequi
Pending Cases Monitored:
3% 4% 6% 1%
28 47 64 4
Adjudicated Cases Monitored:
Total Cases Monitored in 2020:
*Pending cases are cases waiting a judgement result.
*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)
Key Findings and Observations MADD Missouri’s Court Monitoring Program primarily focused on the following counties during the time period outlined above: • Eastern Region of Missouri- Franklin County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and St. Louis County; • Western Region of Missouri- Cass County, Clay County, Camden County, Greene County, Jackson County, and Platte County. Maintaining a presence in the courtrooms through observation, as well as building relationships with prosecutors and judges, has allowed for continued ongoing productive discussions between citizens and the judiciary, making the courts more accountable to the communities they serve. Most of the cases we monitored, as noted by the criminal charge graph, were DWI misdemeanor offenses (72%). The majority of the DWI cases tracked are of first-time offenders (66%). Typically, first time offenders receive a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS), which accounts for many of the total dispositions in most of the counties monitored. 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. Dating back to 2015, we have observed and documented a 4% reduction in amended charges of DWI cases monitored. We have seen a fluctuation of total SIS dispositions of monitored DWI cases, with the highest at 54% in 2019, and the lowest of 47% in 2020. We saw an increase in guilty dispositions in 2020 with 39% of dispositions being guilty, which is a 4% increase from 35% in 2019. The number of total dismissals went down by 1% over the same time period, accounting for only 3% of the total dispositions of DWI cases monitored. Conversations with prosecutors have illustrated that many of the DWI cases being 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 follow and abide the bond conditions, length of time between current charge and last conviction, and employment/school status. The most common offender age range was 30-39 (31%), followed closely by 28% of offenders aged 21-29. Many counties require offenders to complete special conditions as part of their sentence. Primarily ordered most often are a combination of community service, victim impact panel, SATOP (State sponsored program called Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program) and two years of probation. For instance, 38% of the 1,222 cases adjudicated offered supervised or unsupervised probation for 2 years. 33% of offenders found guilty were sentenced to attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel and 34% were sentenced to attend SATOP. We often observed ignition interlock devices being added for repeat felony offenders, though it was not uncommon for first time offenders to receive them also. Missouri has a first-time offender ignition interlock law; however, it is administrative (managed by Departments of Motor Vehicles rather than courts).
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).
Age Of Offender
Type Of Offenses
Number Of DWI Convictions
Dispositions By Counties
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
Notify judicial system of deficiencies
Create public outcry when weaknesses go unaddressed
For more information about court monitoring efforts in your state, please visit madd.org/courts .Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
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