Criminal Mediation

In several states, courts have developed mediation programs that address some criminal matters.  In Georgia, the courts have not done so and arguably couldn’t do so. 

A stumbling block to creating a successful criminal mediation program in Georgia is the fact that successful programs involve dialogue with the victims or purported victims.  However, no statutes provide confidentiality in mediation where “non-parties” to a matter are involved.  So why does this matter?

In the legal world, the parties to a criminal matter include the purported criminal and the State, but not the people who personally bore the harm of the crime.   Without a law that prohibits comments in criminal mediations that involve the victims from being admissible at trial, a major barrier remains.  Whether the mediation occurred pre- or post-trial, the result arguably would arguably be the same: staunch opposition to the mediation by criminal defense counsel (and rightly so).

Where the dockets are back-logged and a “fair and speedy trial” is becoming more loosely defined, it is time for Georgia to take a look at mediation in the criminal context.

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