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Hartford Community Court

Quality-of-Life Crimes Expected to Appear at the Hartford Community Court*

Breach of Peace

1,820

Criminal Tresspass 1, 2, 3

1,179

Disorderly Conduct

962

Larceny 6

1,046

Threatening

303

Patronizing Prostitutes

86

Criminal Mischief 2, 3

239

Obstructing Free Passage

152

Misdemeanor Charge

Number of Cases Docketed 12/1/95 through 11/30/96

Total

5,787

*These are cases which were “nolled,” dismissed, or resulted in a guilty verdict. As discussed below, notable excluded categories of cases include: drug offenses, prostitution cases, and cases involving domestic violence.

As this table illustrates, the Community Court expects to handle approximately 6,000 misdemeanor cases annually.10 In addition, the Community Court handles violations of City ordinance, including: loitering, graffiti, public drinking, unreason- able/excessive noise and public indecency. For these offenses, the police officer has the discretion to make an arrest, but usually issues a summons on the spot, just as he would issue a traffic ticket (the summons is akin to a non-custodial arrest). Violation of municipal ordinance cases are now routed through the Community Court as the result of the same legislation that authorized creation of he Court itself.11 Because planners expect that enforcement of ordinance violations will increase, it is difficult to predict accurately the number of these cases that the Court will see. Planners expect that the Court will encourage substantially more enforcement of nui- sance offenses, resulting in as many as 2,000 ordinance violation cases annually. If so, ordinance violations would account for 25 percent of the Court’s caseload.

Excluded Cases The Community Court specifically excluded cases involving drug, assault and domestic violence charges. In addition, the prosecutor retains discretion to reject some cases, rerouting them to the Superior Court. As the State’s Attorney

10 To provide a sense of the severity of these offenses, the most serious is probably Larceny 6 — a theft of goods worth no more than $250.

11 Before the advent of the Community Court, ordinance violation cases went through the Superior Court, where they resulted in a fine (at most). Under this legislation, these offenses now come through the Community Court, where they are subject to more onerous sanctions — community service or sometimes, in cases of non-compliance, jail.

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