The New Hampshire Judicial Branch, Superior Court, manages all cases involving criminal charges filed as felonies. Within the past five years, it has restructured its criminal case management system and strongly encouraged County Attorney and Public Defender offices to implement Early Case Resolution (ECR) programs. ECR is intended to help these offices identify and negotiate cases in which evidentiary and constitutional issues are simple and the defendant wants to enter a plea.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator of the Office of Mediation and Arbitration has engaged Harvard’s Dispute Systems Design Clinic to evaluate the efficacy of ECR as a case resolution tool.
Activities & Deliverables
- Converse with ECR attorneys (e.g., public defenders, court attorneys)
- Converse with supervisors of ECR attorneys and judges who take ECR pleas
- Observe court where ECR pleas are taken
- A final report on findings and recommendations
- Presentation of findings and recommendations to Chief Justice Nadeau, court attorneys, and public defenders