Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Program


What is the Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Program? It is a new program that has been designed and developed by the Municipal Court judges, prosecutors and court staff. The Court has found that there are several types of cases in which the traditional judicial system of processing a case does nothing more than solve the immediate problem and often does nothing to solve the underlying problems that caused the charges to be filed. In this worst-case scenario, the same or a similar charge is likely to be filed again in the future, and, often, community and neighborhood relations continue to deteriorate. The Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Program is an effort by the Court to achieve justice by trying to find a solution to the current problem which resulted in the charge being filed with the Court and attempts to correct the underlying situation.

What happens at the Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Program? A meeting of the Defendant and the complaining party and, possibly, other involved persons (i.e., an Animal Control Officer or a Code Enforcement Officer) will be scheduled with a Judge of the Municipal Court. The meeting is confidential and off the record. The intent is for all parties to engage in a candid discussion of what caused the current charge filed. There will be a discussion of what to do about the current charge(s) and a discussion of how to try to eliminate similar charges being filed in the future. If there are restitution issues to be considered or orders for some form of positive or affirmative actions that would help improve the neighborhood situation, these matters will also be addressed. The Judge who presides at the meeting will be disqualified from taking any other action in the matter. The parties discussions during the meeting will be inadmissible if the matter proceeds to a trial. A confidentiality agreement will be signed by all parties participating. The meeting is a combination of a pre-trial conference (what is likely to happen at a trial and what is the likely result of a trial?); mediation (a discussion by the involved parties looking for a mutually-agreeable solution to the problem); arbitration (mediation with binding orders entered by a Judge to try to solve the problem); and a settlement conference (a discussion by the involved parties with a judge looking for a way to resolve a dispute that is before the court.) The net result is that the Court is providing a forum where the interested parties can talk things out in order to resolve the problem.

If you are the Defendant, you can expect to meet with the Municipal Court Judge to discuss your case with the goal of finding a better solution, with a short-term goal of making things right and a longer-term goal of restoring harmony to the community. The meeting will focus on trying to figure out a way to avoid a recurrence of the same or similar problems/conflicts/charges in the future. A Confidential Alternative Dispute Resolution conference may result in a court Order for a Deferred Prosecution; Deferred Judgment and Sentence; or entry of a plea and sentence, which may include a suspended sentence. In the case of a Deferred Prosecution or Deferred Judgment and Sentence means that if you comply with the agreement reached between you and the complaining party the case against you will be dismissed. In other cases it may result in the suspension of a penalty conditioned on the correction of the problem.

If you are the complaining party, you can expect the Court to look at the underlying problems in an effort to find a long-term solution to the problem. If there is an issue regarding restitution, this will also be examined.

What will be the results of the Community Alternative Dispute Resolution meeting? If the parties can agree upon a solution that is acceptable to the Court, a Court Order will be entered to enforce the parties agreement and setting the agreement forth as terms and conditions for the Defendant to follow. The Order may take the form of a Deferred Prosecution Order (the case is simply continued or postponed for a period of months and the charge is dismissed at the end of that time); a Deferred Judgment Order (a plea of guilty or no contest is entered to the charge, the matter is postponed for a period of months and the charge is dismissed at the end of that time); or a suspended sentence (a plea of guilty or no contest is entered to the charge, the sentence is suspended for a period of months and the sentence is vacated at the end of that time). There may be nominal court fees/costs associated with an agreement reached, as well as restitution. Such terms and conditions can be fashioned to fit the circumstances. Example: In a dog running at large case, provisions can be ordered to make certain the owner of the dog controls the dog and has the dog stay at home. If there is a failure to comply, the matter may be set for trial (in a Deferred Prosecution case) or a penalty/sentence will be imposed (in a Deferred Judgment case or suspended sentence case). The maximum possible penalty for a violation of the Broomfield Municipal Code is a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or a jail sentence not to exceed one year or both such fine and such jail sentence, and any other penalty provided by Municipal Ordinance.

What if the Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Program does not work? If there is no resolution of the problem, the Municipal Judge will refer the defendant and the case back to the Court for arraignment. The Municipal Court Judge will not preside at any further proceedings involved in the case.

What should I bring with me to the Community Alternative Dispute Resolution meeting? Anything you have that might be helpful or informative. These items might include photographs, notes made regarding the problem, copies of bills incurred at the result of the problem.