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How many jurisdictions require a confession for a pre-trial diversion?

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July 19, 2011, 22:56
How many jurisdictions require a confession for a pre-trial diversion?
I am trying to take a poll or just find out how many jurisdictions require a confession of some type for a pre-trial diversion. My judge was concerned that this might violate the defendant's rights. So, I want to address the issue. Any suggestions?
July 20, 2011, 08:36
I am under the impression most do. Both jurisdictions I've worked in do as part of their PT program. Furthermore, the PT contract would even advise the Defendant of a pre-determined punishment the Defendant was contractually obligated to take if they messed up. That ensures no surprises. Otherwise, if they mess up and reoffend or otherwise fail to meet expectations, you are back in the uneviable position of starting plea bargain negotiations anew.
And what rights does this violate? How is it any different than a plea bargain when the Defendant would have to admit guilt?
July 20, 2011, 08:45
Now you see why I'm confused. However, I thought there may be something out there that might address the issue. The Judge cited an unpublished opinion from another jurisdiction (Amarillo). However, the opinion, although it restated Defense Counsel's opinion well, stated that the court could not address the issue since it wasn't brought up at trial. Oddly enough, although the Court is hundreds of miles away, the Judge that authored the opinion is Hon. Mackey Hancock, whom I know as COL Hancock and was one of my former Commanders/Supervisors/Mentors in the Army Reserve. If HE would have said there was a problem, I would have sit up and taken notice. But, his opion stated that the Court could not address the issue. So, now I'm stumped. Without further direction from my Court on what it will accept and won't accept, I don't feel comfortable offering PTDs.
July 20, 2011, 10:23
We don't require a confession as part of our PTI agreements. We do, however, agree that any evidence obtained by us during the PTI period will be admissible against the defendant on punishment. On the very few occaisions where someone doesn't complete the PTI properly, we have always been able to work out a plea deal immediately after proving the violation. No having them plead guilty has been key to getting many defense attorneys on board with a PTI.

I will say, however, we only do PTIs for less serious misdemeanor offenses. If this were a felony situation, we would likely consider a different approach like the one you're contemplating.