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«From Inception to Implementation: How SACPA has affected the Case Processing and Sentencing of Drug Offenders in One California County DISSERTATION ...»

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1. You respond to a shoplifter in custody at a small retail store. The person stole a DVD. During a pat down, you legally find the individual is in possession of a moderate amount (one ounce) of marijuana. This is not found in the presence of the store owner. The person is cooperative and apologetic to both you and the store owner. The store owner is unsure whether she wants to press charges against the individual for shoplifting, she is looking to you for guidance. The individual has one prior arrest for 11550, 11377 and one prior arrest for 490.5. What could you arrest this individual for? Do you choose to arrest him/her? What do you charge him with? Why do you take the action you take?

2. One evening on foot patrol you encounter a local unemployed homeless man who is sitting in a park high on a commonly used drug other than alcohol. No one has complained. He is by himself in the park and is not bothering anyone, but he is talking to himself. The park does not contain playground equipment and is not near a school or other business frequented by children. You are familiar with this man because he has lived in your town for several years, sometimes in low-cost apartments, sometimes on the street, depending on his finances. He sometimes works as a day laborer or does odd jobs for local businesses. He is not a menace and is rarely complained about, but he does have a drug addiction problem. He has priors for 11550 and 647f only. You’ve talked to him quite a bit and get the sense he might be able to “get his life back together” if he was able to “get clean.” What could you arrest this individual for? Do you choose to arrest him? What do you charge him with? What is your thought-process? Or why do you take the action you take?

3. You are alone and conduct a self-initiated car stop on a driver you believe to be driving under the influence. The driver stops immediately after you turn on your overhead lights and continues to be cooperative throughout the entire car stop.

You don’t smell alcohol, but the driver’s eyes are dilated. After a field sobriety test, you determine the driver is under the influence of a drug. With the driver’s consent, you search the vehicle; you find a small amount (approximately 1/2 ounce) of marijuana for personal (but not medicinal) use. The driver has no prior contacts. What could you arrest this individual for? Do you choose to arrest him/her? What do you charge the person with? What is your thought-process? Or why do you take the action you take?

4. While on patrol late one evening alone, you notice a local man hanging out in front of a middle school. You are familiar with this individual, as you have arrested him several times in the past for drug crimes (possession and under the influence, but not sales) and property crimes (including residential burglary and vehicle burglary). You’ve noticed that he always seems to “get off with a hand slap.” He is not currently on probation (although he has been in the past). There have been some vehicle burglaries in the neighborhood recently which you think he might be responsible for. You stop your patrol car and approach the subject, who greets you cordially by name. You ask him what he is up to and why he is hanging out at the middle school at night. He gives you a reason that does not seem truthful. After chatting for a short time, you ask his permission to search his person for weapons/stolen property. He agrees and you feel an object you believe could be a pocket knife; upon removing it from his pocket, you discover it is a medicine vial containing 15 ecstasy pills. What could you arrest this individual for? Do you choose to arrest him? If so, what do you charge him with? What is your thought-process? Or why do you take the action you take?

–  –  –

Describe respondent’s background, job title, experience… Other notes or comments

1. What are the Proposition 36 eligibility criteria in Orange County?

Qualifying offenses:

Past criminal history:

Past drug program failures (PC1000, P36, DTC) – how many are tolerated?

2. Are these eligibility criteria consistent throughout the county with all DA’s, Judges, PD’s?

3. Can you give me an example of a typical P36 case? What makes it typical?

3a. Can you give me an example of an atypical P36 case? What makes it atypical?

4. In the case of a disagreement, who ultimately determines if an offender qualifies for P36 – DDA or Judge?

4a. How often are there disagreements? Can you give me an example of a disagreement?

5. Can exceptions be made for specific/special cases? If so, how often are they made?

5a. Can you give me an example of a case when an exception might be made?

6. Can you tell me more about the court process for Proposition 36 cases in Orange County? For example, I understand there is only one courtroom that hears felony Proposition 36 cases, but that additional courts hear misdemeanor cases. How many times will an offender (with no violations) appear before the court?

7. Can you take me through the process that a defendant would go through if charged with a qualifying drug possession offense?

7a. Has Proposition 36 impacted the plea-bargaining process for drug offenders?





How?

8. Approximately how many offenders per month qualify for Proposition 36 sentencing?

8a. Has this number changed since inception? What makes you think so?

9. What percentage of offenders offered Proposition 36 accept it?

9a. Why do some offenders who qualify for Proposition 36 decline it?

9b. What is most appealing about Proposition 36, for the offenders who accept it?

10. What are your sentencing options if an offender qualifies for but does NOT accept Proposition 36?

11. What are your sentencing options if an offender qualifies for and accepts Proposition 36?

11a. If an offender spends time in jail between arrest and arraignment, can you sentence that offender to probation with credit for time served? (probation + jail) 11b. If yes, when do you typically order credit for time served be added to a sentence?

11c. Does receiving “credit for time served” benefit a defendant who is sentenced to probation only and who is not looking at any jail time? If yes, how?

12. What is the typical sentence for the average drug offender in Proposition 36 court?

12a. Is this any different than the typical sentence before Prop.36? How? (ie Prob w/credit for time served) 12b. Are most offenders receiving the same sentence or a different sentence than they likely would have received before Proposition 36? If different, how is it different?

12c. If only some offenders are receiving different sentences, what do those offenders have in common, or how are they different than the offenders who are getting the same sentence as before Proposition 36?

13. What is the hardest part of Prop. 36 for the offenders who have trouble completing it?

13a. How many times does the average Prop. 36 offender appear before the court for probation violations? What is the most common violation? (ie not showing up to treatment; failing test…) 13b. What is the typical punishment?

13c. How many violations are typically allowed before an offender is removed from Proposition 36 probation? Who makes this decision?

13d. What happens to an offender once they are removed from P36 probation?

13e. If an offender is removed from P36 probation, is that considered a “failure”?

13f. If so, what percentage of offenders “fail” Proposition 36?

13g. How many months/years are most Prop 36 offenders followed for?

14. Is the average drug offender in Proposition 36 court typical of most drug offenders in Orange County? If not, how are Prop. 36 defendants dissimilar from other drug offenders?

15. Has Proposition 36 impacted the other drug offender sentencing/diversion programs in use in the county? How?

15a. For example, is Drug Treatment Court at full-capacity?

15b. Are there different types of offenders in the other drug programs since Proposition 36 went into effect?

16. How is it decided whether an offender will be offered Drug Treatment Court, PC1000, or Proposition 36? Is there a standard set of criteria that the decision is based on?

16a. Who makes the ultimate decision in cases of disagreement?

17. What aspects of Proposition 36 affect your workload the most?

17a. What proportion of your time is devoted to adjudicating probation violation cases? In a typical week, how many hours do you spend adjudicating probation violation cases?

17b. Has Proposition 36 changed the number of court cases for drug crimes? How?

17c. Has Proposition 36 changed the number of trials for drug crimes? In/De-crease?

18. Please describe your role as a Proposition 36 Court Judge.

18a. How is your role as a Prop. 36 Court Judge unique from other bench assignments?

19. Do you think your approach; your ways of processing cases is similar to other Judges? Or different? How?

20. If you could make changes to Proposition 36 to make it more effective, what changes would you make?

–  –  –

Describe respondent’s background, job title, experience… Other notes or comments

1. Can you please describe your current job?

1a. In your current capacity, do you deal ONLY with PC1210/Prop36 defendants or a mix of defendants?

2. Are you familiar with PC1210 when it was initially started? If so, would you please describe the initial impact of Proposition 36 on the public defenders office?

What were the expected major issues you found yourself having to deal with?

2a. What were the unexpected major issues you found yourself having to deal with?

2b. What were the unexpected minor issues you found yourself having to deal with?

2c. What were the expected minor issues you found yourself having to deal with?

3. How did the public defenders office adjust to the changes (ex. mtgs, new policies)?

3a. Were new operating procedures adopted? If so, what were they and what issue was each intended to address?

4. Describe how the public defenders office currently handles PC1210 defendants and how this has changed since inception.

4a.How many Public Defenders are assigned to, or work on, Proposition 36 cases in the county?

5. Can you tell me more about the court process for Proposition 36 cases in Orange County? For example, I understand there is only one courtroom that hears felony Proposition 36 cases, but that additional courts hear misdemeanor cases. Also, how many times will an offender (with no violations) appear before the court?

6. What are the Proposition 36 eligibility criteria in Orange County?

Qualifying offenses:

Past criminal history:

Past drug program failures (PC1000, P36, DTC) – how many are tolerated?

7. Are these eligibility criteria consistent throughout the county with all DA’s, Judges & PD’s or is there some disagreement and discretion used?

8. It seems that the law is a bit unclear about qualifying offenses, how was it decided which offenses would qualify? Has this changed over time?

9. In the case of a disagreement, who ultimately determines if an offender qualifies for P36?

9a. How often are there disagreements? Can you give me an example of a disagreement?

10. Can exceptions be made for specific/special cases? If yes, how often are they made?

10a. Can you give me an example of a case when an exception might be made?

11. Can you give me an example of a typical P36 case? What makes it typical?

11a. Can you give me an example of an atypical P36 case? What makes it atypical?

12. Can you take me through the process that a defendant would go through if arrested for a qualifying drug possession offense?

12a. Has Proposition 36 impacted the plea-bargaining process for drug offenders?

How? For example: how often are misdemeanor charges (148pc, 14601vc…) dropped so an offender can plea to p36 and avoid trial?

13. Approximately how many offenders per month qualify for Proposition 36 sentencing?

13a. Has this number changed since inception? What makes you think so?

14. What percentage of offenders offered Proposition 36 accept it?

14a. Can P36 eligible offenders, decline it? If so, why do some offenders decline it?

14b. What is typically the sentence for offenders who decline P36?

14c. What is most appealing about Proposition 36, for the offenders who accept it?

15. What are the judge’s sentencing options if an offender qualifies for and accepts P36?

15a. If an offender spends time in jail between arrest and arraignment, can the judge sentence that offender to probation with credit for time served? (probation + jail) 15b. If yes, when does s/he typically order credit for time served be added to a sentence?

15c. Does receiving “credit for time served” benefit a defendant who is sentenced to probation only and who is not looking at any jail time? If yes, how?

16. What is the typical sentence for the average drug offender in Proposition 36 court?

16a. Is this any different than the typical sentence before Prop.36? How? (ie Prob w/credit for time served) 16b. Are most offenders receiving the same sentence or a different sentence than they likely would have received before Proposition 36? If different, how is it different?

16c. If only some offenders are receiving different sentences, what do those offenders have in common, or how are they different than the offenders who are getting the same sentence as before Proposition 36?

17. What is the hardest part of Prop. 36 for the offenders who have trouble completing it?

17a. How many times does the average Prop. 36 offender appear before the court for probation violations? What is the most common violation? (ie not showp to tx;

dirty test…) 17b. What is the typical punishment?

17c. How many violations are typically allowed before an offender is removed from Proposition 36 probation? Who makes this decision?

17d. What typically happens to an offender once they are removed from P36 probation?



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