Pretrial Monitoring of Intimate Partner Violence Defendants

Danielle Long, Judicial Oversight Demonstra. Initiative

One of the most challenging times of intervention in intimate partner violence cases is the time between arrest and case disposition. This is a time when the system has little legal control over a defendant and when the defendant may be the most desperate to keep a victim from cooperating with the criminal justice system. In turn, this time has been identified as a particularly dangerous time for victims of intimate partner violence. In an attempt to increase victim safety and defendant accountability during the pretrial phase, the Milwaukee site of the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative implemented the Domestic Violence Court Commissioner's court (DVCC) and the Pretrial Monitoring Program (PMP) to help assure that defendants are complying with bail conditions, in particular the no contact order. The bail monitor of the PMP has a limited caseload of 40 high risk defendants and operates by monitoring compliance with bail conditions through the use of face-to-face office visits, call-ins and home visits. Additionally, the bail monitor works closely with the alleged victim during the pre-trial phase. The bail monitor offers the victim assistance in accessing victim services, offers the victim an avenue for reporting violations of no-contact orders to the court, and keeps the victim informed of the status of the court case. One very important aspect of the Pretrial Monitoring Program is the extensive communication with all players in the criminal justice system, including the police, courts, district attorney's office, nongovernmental advocates, and probation. The bail monitor works closely with every part of the system for case management of the strength of a coordinated criminal justice system holding offenders accountable and working to keep victims safe. This presentation will describe the benefits and challenges of the PMP program.

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Updated 05/20/2006