This community court was implemented in September 2002 and hears all U.S. misdemeanor cases (e.g., prostitution, minor drug offenses) not involving domestic violence that occur in the sixth and seventh police districts (Wards 7 and 8) of Washington, D.C. This problem-solving court was a response to the challenges faced by many of the East of the River communities of Washington, D.C. including increasing rates of poverty, crime and disorder that were higher than many other communities of the city. One judge presides over the ERCC and hears all phases of a case from arraignment until final disposition. The ERCC involves the partnership and collaboration of several agencies and entities including the United States Attorney's Office, Pre-Trial Services Agency, and D.C. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association and works to identify the social services needs of the defendants/offenders that may contribute to criminal behavior, and fashion diversion programs, where appropriate, to address those needs. As cases come before the judge in the courthouse, she seeks to administer justice that is a balance between punishment, community restitution, and providing any services that the defendant may need. The judge also attends numerous community meetings and other neighborhood events to keep abreast of community developments, crime problems, issues, and concerns.
For more information about the D.C. Courts' community courts or if you would like to contact the community courts with suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns, please contact Michael O. Francis, Community Court Coordinator at 202-879-1950, email to Francismo@dcsc.gov, or write to: Michael O. Francis, Community Court Coordinator, Criminal Division, Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.