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Specialized Felony Domestic Violence Courts: Lessons on Implementation and Impacts From the Kings County Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2001
146 pages
This report evaluates key features of Brooklyn's Felony Domestic Violence Court Model.
The report traces the Court's development, implementation, challenges, evolution, and expansion. A pre/post evaluation study examined how the model influences case processing, outcomes, and recidivism. The report is based on qualitative research methods, including interviews with key court and partner agency personnel, observation of courtroom proceedings, and attendance at coordination meetings. It also draws on statistical analyses of data provided by the Office of Court Administration on Court Cases, and on documents prepared by the Center for Court Innovation and others. The existence of the specialized court seemed to change the types of cases entering it, in that prosecutors were more likely to indict cases with less severe police charges than before. This may have influenced case processing, disposition, and sentencing patterns. The Court's victims were more likely to be assigned an advocate, and defendants on pre-disposition release were more likely to be required to participate in a batterers' intervention program. The Court itself produced a higher rate of disposition by guilty plea, which saves the system time and money. Interpretations of recidivism findings are severely constrained by limitations in the recidivism data and the pre/post design. Criminal history, especially criminal contempt of court orders, predicted how well defendants performed pre- and post-disposition. Notes, figures, tables, references, appendixes

Date Published: October 1, 2001