Written by attorney Jack Ira Klein

Cobb County State Court Diversion Program Marietta, Georgia


PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAM STATE COURT OF COBB COUNTY Pretrial diversion (PTD) is an alternative to prosecution which seeks to divert certain offenders from traditional criminal justice processing into a program of supervision and services administered by the State Court of Cobb County. In the majority of cases, participants who successfully complete the program will have the charges against them dismissed; unsuccessful participants are returned for prosecution. The major objectives of pretrial diversion are: * To prevent future criminal activity among certain offenders by diverting them from traditional processing into community resources and services. * To save prosecutive and judicial resources for concentration on major cases. * The period of the program is usually 3 months.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. An Attorney must file the Diversion Petition and the $150.00 fee payable to "state Court Diversion" must be included.

  2. A person with no previous arrests, first offender, nolo treatment or conditional discharge is not eligible.

  3. No prior Drug or Alcohol convictions or any prior diversion.

  4. No arrests during the diversion period. Pretrial Diversion Procedures

GUIDELINES COBB SUPERIOR COURT DIVERSION The Diversion Program was created pursuant to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §15-18-80 as an alternative to the prosecution of offenders in the criminal system. The Diversion Program is designed for first offenders who have committed crimes that did not result in injury to a victim, are otherwise non-violent and non-aggressive in nature and are non-drug related. Inasmuch as those individuals who are admitted to the program have committed a crime, it is not in the best interest of the justice system to have records of the crime expunged. Therefore, because of the requirements set forth at O.C.G.A. §35-3-37, any case considered for acceptance in the Diversion Program must be accused prior to being accepted in the program. The Solicitor General or District Attorney for the Cobb Judicial Circuit must approve any deviation from these published guidelines. In accordance with the conditions outlined in their contractual agreements, individuals accepted to participate in the Diversion Program will immediately be subjected to individualized and controlled supervisory programs for a specified period of time in lieu of traditional prosecution. That is, persons who meet the eligibility criteria will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Diversion Program which will serve as an alternative to the county’s traditional methods of handling cases. Participation in the Diversion Program will be voluntary with the advice of counsel, will occur prior to adjudication and if participants satisfactorily complete the Diversion Program, will result in dismissal or nolle prosequi of the charges. It is designed to benefit the individual program participant as well as the overall criminal justice system for Cobb County. Acceptance into the Cobb Superior Court Diversion Program will generally be based upon the following eligibility criteria: 1) The Victim's response to the Defendant's petition for Diversion. 2) Only offenders with no other criminal record will be eligible for program participation. 3) Offenders must be at least 17 years of age and voluntarily petition the District Attorney requesting consideration for participation in the Diversion Program. 4) Unless unusual circumstances prevail, offenders must be residents of Cobb County. Some exceptions would be, the offender is returning home to family, a job out of state, or going away to school. 5) The case against the offender must be prosecutable. 6) As a rule, offenders must be gainfully employed or a full-time student. (An exception to this would be a homemaker who would not be required to obtain full-time employment.) 7) Offenders must be of a stable mind and have a stable place of residence. 8) Offenders must agree to sign forms waiving their right to: a) Grand Jury indictment; b) certain Constitutional rights including the right to a speedy trial; c) maintain confidential information such as juvenile records (such records are needed for the purpose of eligibility investigation) and the Offender must admit guilt. 9) Offenders must agree to perform specified hours of community service (not to exceed 200 hours) be supervised for reasonable periods of time which will be determined by the nature of their crimes and an evaluation of their program participation. (Offenders will be required to enter into a contractual agreement outlining the conditions of their participation in order for their petition to receive consideration.) The following persons will not qualify for participation in the Diversion Program: 1) Persons with extensive juvenile records. 2) Persons with criminal records of convictions or arrests. 3) Persons who willfully failed to appear in court while on bond. 4) Persons who have escaped from a mental hospital. 5) Persons who have been arrested for Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. 6) Persons who are dependent upon drugs and/or alcohol, unless they have successfully completed a primary treatment program and can verify in writing, their successful completion of the program. In order to be considered for acceptance in the Diversion Program, the offender’s attorney will be required to file a petition with the District Attorney’s Office. Copies of the petition will be forwarded to the Assistant District Attorney to whom the case is assigned and the Diversion Unit. Subsequent procedures for enrollment are as follows: 1) The Assistant District Attorney will review the case and based on the nature of the Defendant's offense(s), determine the possibility of the petitioner’s eligibility. If it is determined that the offender is a possible candidate for the Diversion Program, the Assistant District Attorney will complete and forward a referral form to the Diversion Representative for a background check and final decision. 2) Upon receipt of the referral form from the Assistant District Attorney, the Diversion Representative will initiate an investigation to establish the offender’s eligibility in terms of personal history, criminal record, employment, residency, etc. 3) Upon completion of the eligibility investigation by the Diversion Representative, a determination regarding the acceptability of the offender to participate in the Diversion Program will be made. 4) If the offender is rejected the case will be returned to the Assistant District Attorney for prosecution. 5) If the offender is accepted, a contractual agreement outlining the conditions of participation will be prepared and executed. If restitution is required it must be paid at this time. The offender will be required to pay an administration fee of $300.00 (O.C.G.A. § 15-18-80). All funds are to be given to the Diversion Representative who will distribute the funds to the Clerk of Superior Court. All funds are to be paid by certified or cashiers check or money order only, made payable to Cobb County General Fund. 6) Upon execution of the contractual agreement, the offender will be enrolled in the Diversion Program for a specified period of time, and for the duration of the program, the offender will be under the supervision and monitoring of the staff of the Diversion Unit or the District Attorney’s Office. Upon successful completion, bond will be released.

Additional resources provided by the author

Cobb County Solicitors Office 770 528-8500

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