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.
The Court Monitoring Program monitors misdemeanor DUI cases in the courts of their respective counties. The monitors are physically present for court settings and acquire case information from courtroom observation and, when necessary, from researching online databases in the event a monitor is not able to be present at the pro- ceeding. The data is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes.
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the counties monitored and is not intended to be a statistical analysis. Tennessee State Report (reporting period: 1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020)
Pending Cases Monitored:
Adjudicated Cases Monitored:
Total Cases Monitored in 2020:
*Pending cases are cases waiting a judgement result.
Bound Over To Circuit Court
Dispositions Of Closed Cases
*Based on data from 2020, there were 109 Amended cases. These cases were amended to lesser DUIs, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment. Of those cases that were amended to lesser DUIs, the mandatory sentencing minimums were met for that lesser DUI.
Case Age Average By County
** In March 2020, we were forced to monitor all counties, except Shelby, via the Tennessee Public Court Records System and/or the counties Clerk website due to courts being closed to outside people because of the pandemic. We began monitoring Shelby County in December 2020, so the case age for this county is extreme due to low number of overall cases monitored.
Percent Of Previous DUI Offenses
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).
Key Findings & Observations MADD Tennessee began its grant-funded Court Monitoring Program in October 2019 and began monitoring cases in early January 2020. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office funds this program. The program’s goals are to compile pertinent information on DUI cases are handled; make those involved in the legal process aware of the public interest and concern about the outcome criminal case, and report relevant information gathered by the program to relevant entities so that the legal system can be improved. Our program selected Coffee, Davidson, Jefferson, Macon, Putnam, Rutherford, Shelby, Sumner, Weakley, and Wilson Counties to monitor. In March 2020, we were forced to monitor all counties, except Shelby, via the Tennessee Public Court Records System and/or the counties Clerk website due to courts being closed to outside people because of the pandemic. In December 2020, Shelby County District Attorney DUI Unit began allowing us to Zoom into their court hearings to monitor their DUI cases. Court Monitoring staff and volunteers collected specific information on cases stemming from DUI arrests in court hearings and through case research online. MADD Tennessee also held multiple meetings with informed individuals within the enforcement and prosecution communities to assist with interpretation and context. Based on the case information collected and tracked by MADD court monitors in 2020, the following overall observations were presented based on Tennessee’s court monitoring case data. • MADD Tennessee’s goals for this program is to enlist and train court monitors to observe and document what happens in the courtroom during DUI proceedings, track results, and identify inconsistencies on how DUI cases are handled and resolved. • During the Year 1 of the grant, we were able to monitor a total of 10 counties. • In the 2020 year, 780 cases were monitored. 127 cases currently have a pending outcome. These cases are likely pending due to the courts being backlogged because of the COVID-19 pandemic, continuances, and/or capias warrants being issued for offenders to appear in court. • Based on data from 2020, there were 109 Amended cases. • These cases were amended to lesser DUIs, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment. • Of those cases that were amended to lesser DUIs, the mandatory minimums were met for that lesser DUI. • Based on data from 2020, the longest case adjudication process took 2,174 days where the offender plead guilty to a third DUI offense. The shortest case adjudication process in 2020 was 8 days where the offender plead guilty to a 3rd DUI. • We began monitoring Shelby County in December 2020, so the case age for this county is extreme due to low number of overall cases monitored. • Based on data collected from 2020, the following observations on recidivism rate for DUI offenders was made: • Second offenses are 13% • Third offenses are 4% • Fourth or more offenses are 3%
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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