Florence, AZ – The Early Disposition Court (EDC) in Pinal County is a success. It helped clear hundreds of cases before its first anniversary in December 2010.
As of Oct. 1, 2020 the court is operating two full days a week.
This court began addressing victimless crime in December 2009 and gradually added victim cases. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 24, 2010 EDC was assigned 810 cases and 592 of them were resolved.
“EDC helps the whole criminal justice system provide for timely justice in cases that can be expedited,” County Attorney James P. Walsh said. “This court can minimize expenditures and allow us to redirect our resources as our population grows and demands on existing personnel become greater.”
EDC became a reality with the collaborative participation of the Pinal County Superior Court, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office the Pinal County Public Defender, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Adult Probation, and the Clerk of the Court. The Clerk’s Office responded strongly to the new challenge.
“Of course we had to cross-train courtroom clerks to teach them the entire hearing process, since most of them were trained to deal with specific parts of the legal process,” Clerk of the Court Kristi Youtsey Ruiz said. “The courtroom clerks in my office attend fewer hearings and spend less time on cases because the EDC cases can and are usually concluded in one hearing.”
The benefits of the program became apparent during this first phase that began in December 2009 and ended in July 2010. Usually only one hearing takes place. A judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers and courtroom clerks attend that one hearing and fewer or no continuance hearings.
“The EDC is still a project in progress,” Walsh said. “We are still refining the system to make it work for all involved, so that justice is provided while saving money for the taxpayers who foot the bill.”