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U.S. Attorney revives mediation

(Published July 31, 2000)

After a six-year hiatus due to budgetary restrictions, a mediation service aimed at resolving misdemeanors before they get to court has been revived.

The partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the privately funded Community Dispute Resolution Center, begun July 17, will be operated as a six-month pilot program while continued funding is sought, according to center director Steve Dinkin.

The program currently is funded with about $100,000 in grants from the nonprofit Trellis Fund and the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation.

Dinkin said the program is expected to remove five to six cases per week from the criminal justice system by resolving non-violent disputes through contractual agreements.

"Basically, the parties come together in a contractual agreement and if they maintain the agreement, the case would not be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office," Dinkin said.

The program will be operated out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office near the Judiciary Square Metro and from the Third Police District station on V Street NW.

Dinkin described the types of cases to be mediated as those involving minor disputes, such as workplace fistfights, vandalism to neighbors’ property, trespassing disputes and verbal threats.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator