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Early Disposition Court, or EDC, is a court session separate from traditional court sessions. EDC attempts to bring criminal cases to resolution with the fewest possible court appearances. The goal is to make the criminal justice system more efficient, but still, protect the rights of all parties involved. All parts of the criminal justice system work together and share information as much as possible.
After the Initial Appearance, the County Attorney decides if a case should go to EDC. If the case is right for EDC, it is set for the court at an EDC session. At that EDC session, the defendant is arraigned, and a plea agreement is offered by the County Attorney. If the defendant accepts the plea agreement, sentencing will occur that day or an EDC session. If the defendant does not accept the offered plea agreement, there are two options. More time is allowed to reach a plea agreement by the next EDC session, or the case is set for a traditional court session.
If the attorneys believe a case can be resolved more quickly, and the rights of all parties will not be compromised, the case may be sent to Early Disposition Court.
EDC saves resources. It saves time and tax dollars. Cases in EDC are typically resolved in a single hearing. When a case goes to a traditional court it may take a minimum of three months to resolve. When a case is resolved in EDC, there is no need for a Grand Jury indictment. With fewer cases sent to the Grand Jury, fewer citizens may be called to sit for a four-month Grand Jury obligation.
If a defendant is placed on probation, it is important to get the defendant under probation supervision as soon as possible. If a case goes through traditional court, the defendant may stay in jail an extra 10 days until arraignment. During that time, the defendant may lose employment, housing, and other support that can help a person be successful in the community. EDC helps keep these supports in place by getting the defendant back in the community under probation supervision more quickly. This makes it more likely the defendant can be successful and less likely the defendant will commit more crimes.
Just like in traditional court, victims in EDC have the opportunity to be heard and to provide input. When a case goes to EDC, fewer court hearings means fewer trips to the courthouse. If the defendant is put on probation, getting this done faster means a better chance of getting victim restitution paid more quickly.
EDC usually means fewer trips to the courthouse for hearings and quicker case resolution. If the sentence is to be probation, going into EDC may also mean getting out of custody sooner. That in turn may mean keeping or finding a job and getting needed help (like counseling) sooner.